Veduta di Ponte Milvio, incisione di Piranesi 1754

View of the Milvio Bridge, engraving by Piranesi 1754

The view of Ponte Milvio , by Giovan Battista Piranesi , is one of the most famous views of the famous Milvio bridge in Rome, which still exists today.

Piranesi chose to represent the Milvian Bridge , the site of the historic battle that took place in 312 AD, between the emperor Constantine and his rival Maxentius. The victory of the former handed the Roman state into the hands of the Constantinian dynasty, which led Rome towards Christianity.


The view of the Milvian Bridge , by Piranesi, however, aims to recall the state of the bridge in its era, the 18th century. The view represents the historic bridge with its multiple arches. The richness of the details and the play of light and shadow used by Piranesi gives a particular realism and depth to the entire image and view of the bridge.

The stone arches, which have been slightly architecturally exaggerated, overlook the Tiber River. People can be seen in the distance, but of great interest are the debris and remains of trees , clearly visible in the foreground. Piranesi evidently wants to give realism to his view and ensures that the debris is clearly visible to the viewer.

If we notice, on the left side, the bridge appears damaged, which gives this view a realism and fidelity to the real situation of the Milvian bridge in the 18th century. Piranesi, in a certain sense, wants to denounce the state of abandonment of the Milvio bridge.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an 18th-century Italian engraver, architect and theorist of art, specializing in engravings depicting views of ancient and modern Rome.

His style is based on the representation of Roman ruins, engraved in a particularly detailed manner and with the use of a perspective that gives drama to Roman monuments, both to denounce their decadence but also to remember the glory and majesty of times gone by.

Piranesi and his views are of supreme artistic realism . Even the play of light and shadow have always given all of Piranesi's artistic views a sense of grandeur and power, typical of great Roman constructions, mixed with a melancholy for their decadence over time.

  • Title of the Work: View of the Milvian Bridge
  • Artist: Giovanni Battista Piranesi
  • Period: Enlightenment
  • Creation Date: First engraved around 1754
  • Printing Technique: Etching
  • Material: Engraving on paper
  • Style: Vedutism
  • Series: Part of Piranesi's "Views of Rome" series
  • Editions: Various printers have published editions of Piranesi's work over the years, sometimes posthumously.
  • Original Plate Dimensions: Variable dimensions; The plates used by Piranesi could vary in size, but many were large to allow for a high level of detail.
  • Print Notes: Piranesi's engravings were noted for their quality and detail, achieved through a meticulous process of carving copper plate and applying ink to create the prints.
  • Conservation: Originals are found in various collections and museum institutions, as well as private collections.
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