Rome: Chez Bouchard et Gravier Libraires françois rüe du Cours près l’Eglise de S. Marcel, de l'imprimerie de Komarek, 1763.
Large Folio: 56 x 42.5 cm. [vi], 72 pp. Collation: [π]3, A-Z1, Aa-.Nn1. With 44 double-paged plates. Complete.
An exceptional copy, entirely untrimmed, with deckled edges throughout and (consequently) with very broad margins. Bound in original marbled boards, the binding moderately soiled and lightly worn, with small imperfections at the corners and along the fore-edge. The text and plates are in fine condition, with minor cosmetic faults: a few pates lightly toned, scattered light marginal stains or clean tears in the margins (not affecting the plates), other occasional light blemishes. This copy is one and three quarter inch taller and broader than any that we have handled (including copies in contemporary bindings.) Provenance: From the library of the noted Venetian collector Franco Novacco (d. 2001), whose renowned collection of Italian maps is now at the Newberry Library, Chicago.
Magnificently illustrated with 44 double-page etched and engraved plates of Renaissance and Baroque Roman architecture, with captions in Italian and French. All plates are signed by Barbault as draftsman (“Barbault del[ineavit”) and most signed by Domenico Montagù (“D. Montegu Sculp[sit]”), Freicenet, or Giraud as engraver. With an etched and engraved title vignette; 21 small etched and engraved plates as tailpieces.
The French artist Jean Barbault arrived in Rome in 1747 and quickly became involved with the circle of Piranesi, with whom he worked on the “Varie Vedute di Roma Antica e Moderna” and for whose “Antichità Romane” he contributed figures for 14 plates “thus becoming one of the few official collaborators” of Piranesi. Barbault’s own views of the ancient city appeared 7 years after his collaboration with Piranesi; the present work on “Rome Moderne” appeared two years later, the year that Barbault died. The success of Barbault’s views was “largely due to the great fashion for large Roman views created by Piranesi’s publications. The overlapping questions of plagiarism and influence are quite vivid, since not only were Piranesi and Barbault both collaborators and rivals (Barbault died too young to present a real threat), but, more important, in Giovanni Bouchard they briefly shared a publisher as well. It has been persuasively suggested (Rosenberg 1976) that Bouchard promoted Barbault as a rival after Piranesi left to set up his own publishing enterprise and that Barbault became Piranesi’s most feared pasticheur.
“The plates of ‘Les Plus Beaux Édifices De Rome Moderne’ were made by Domenico Montagù and an entire team of engravers. The work is organized by building type: basilicas (starting with Saint Peter’s, then San Giovanni in Laterano); churches of the large orders (Gesù, Sant’Andrea della Valle); the two circular religious buildings inherited from antiquity (Santa Costanza and the Pantheon); an even longer section on palaces, fountains, bridges; and a long section on squares. In the views of ‘modern’ Rome, Barbault is, inevitably, close to Piranesi’s contemporary views. The plates are accompanied by extensive descriptive entries in French. These offer a brief history of each building, including discussion of the founder, the construction sequence, and the artists involved in making the decorations. The text, though separate from the plates, is ornamented with successful tail-pieces, which illustrate additional sites in Rome.”(Pollak, Millard IV, pp. 42-46)
List of Plates:
1 St. Peter’s square, with a view of the basilica and Bernini’s collonade.
2 St. Peter’s, lateral view of the Basilica
3 St. Peter’s, interior view
4 St. John Lateran
5 Piazza of St. John Lateran, with views of the obelisk and the Baptistry
6 San Paolo fuori le mura
7 San Paolo fuori le mura, interior view
8 Santa Maria Maggiore
9 Santa Croce, with the Temple of Venus and Rome
10 San Sebastiano
11 Il Gesù
12 Sant’ Ignazio
13 Collegio Romano
14 Sant’Andrea della Valle
15 San Giovanni dei Fiorentini
16 Santa Costanza, interior
17 San Eustachio
18 Piazza del Popolo
19 Piazza Navona
20 Piazza della Rotonda, with view of the Pantheon
21 Trajan’s Column
22 Piazza Colonna, with the Column of Antoninus Pius
23 Piazza di Spagna, view of the Spanish Steps and Santa Trinità dei Monti
24 The Quirinal Palace
25 Monte Citorio
26 Il Campidoglio
27 Palazzo Madama
28 Palazzo Borghese
29 Palazzo Farnese
30 Palazzo Barberini
31 Palazzo Mattei, with Santa Caterina de Funari
32 Palazzo (Doria) Pamphilj
33 Palazzo Altieri
34 Palazzo Corsini
35 Palazzo Colonna
36 Palazzo Muti
37 Palazzo Sacchetti
38 Palazzo di Caprarola (Villa Farnese)
39 Trevi Fountain
40 Acqua Paola
41 Ponte Sisto
42 Acqua Felice
43 Ponte Roto and Isola Tiberina
44 Porto di Ripa Grande.
Berlin Catalogue 2712; Millard IV, 14; Not in Fowler.