Opere varie di architettura, prospettiva, groteschi, antichita. [&] Les plus beaux monuments de Rome ancienne …
Two works in one large folio volume of III-VIII pp, 90 pp, 73 plates -  pp, 21 prints. Full contemporary red morocco, richly decorated ribbed spine, title in gilt letters on the spine, triple gilt fillet on the boards, gilt roulettes inside and on the edges, gilt edges. In a red calf slipcase with clasps, gilt and cold-stamped roulettes, initials S.P.Q.R. on the upper board, red velvet and satin interior. Some minor wear to binding, slipcase rubbed, with wear to corners.
The first part of the book includes Les plus beaux monuments de Rome ancienne by Barbault. It consists of an engraved title illustrated with a vignette, a dedicatory epistle with an armorial header, 90 pages of text, and is illustrated with 73 superb plates, 29 of which are full-page, the others engraved with 2 subjects. The illustration also includes 8 engravings in-text (Without the half title, large tear and small restored lacks to the back of the title, some freckles sometimes important).
A pupil of Restaut, Jean Barbault (1718-1762) collaborated with Piranesi before becoming his rival. "Barbault's place among the French Piranesi is unique. He was indeed one of the rare official collaborators of Piranesi before becoming one of his formidable pasticheurs (...) He left more than five hundred engravings which undoubtedly constitute the major homage of a Frenchman to Piranesi (...) Barbault collaborated modestly it is true, with the latter in 1756 and engraved the figures of some compositions of Antichità Romane (...). In 1761 appeared Les plus beaux monuments de la Rome ancienne published by Bouchard et Gravier, the famous French publishers of the time, who wanted, by calling upon Barbault, to compensate for the loss they had just made in the person of Piranesi who had previously established himself on his own (...) The success of the ancient Rome incited Barbault to draw the most beautiful buildings of modern Rome, but when the work appeared, Barbault had been dead for one year. Piranesi was to outlive him by sixteen years". (Pierre Rosenberg - Some news about Barbault in Piranesi and the French, 1978, pp.499-508).
The second part of the book is devoted to the Piranesi's Opere varie. It includes an engraved title in black and red illustrated with a vignette by Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain, a portrait of the author by F. Polanzani, a frontispiece (Prima parte) (Robison, state IV), and 20 superb prints, 4 of which are double-page engravings mounted on tabs. 6 printss are before the numbers, including the 4 double-page engravings (referenced Hind H15, H16, H24, H25, H26 and H27).
Italian architect, painter and engraver born in Venice in 1720 and died in Rome in 1778, Giambattista Piranesi began his architectural studies with his father, a stonemason, his uncle, the architect Matteo Lucchesi, who taught him drawing, and Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto who taught him painting. Interested in engraving, he became a student of Carlo Zucchi (1682-1767). "Young artist trained in the discipline of Vitruvius and Palladio, full of admiration for the antique, Piranesi, in 1740, accompanied the ambassador of the Republic of Venice to the Holy See as "draftsman". He was then able to study from life the monuments and remains that had nourished his education. With the multidisciplinary education he had received, he collaborated for a time with the brothers Domenico (17..-1771) and Giuseppe Valeriani (1708-1762), famous theater decorators, putting into practice his talents as a vedutist and architect.
Around 1742 he attented the workshop of one of the most important engravers in Italy, Giuseppe Agostino Vasi (1710-1782), under whose guidance he participated in the edition of the Vedute di Roma sul Tevere and perfected his technique as an aquafortist. Finally, in 1743, he took part in a major publishing venture: the reduction of the famous Nuova Topografia di Roma, based on the surveys of Giovanni Battista Nolli, the first map of the city to be executed using modern scientific criteria. The first personal result of the years of training and study that led Piranesi from Venice to Rome was the publication of the Prima parte at the end of 1743.
The work consists of twelve plates with the central theme of antiquity. These are not, however, simple reconstitutions of ancient monuments opportunely brought together in the same composition, such as those invented by Fischer von Erlach or Pannini, but pure inventions, which, moreover, are technically unfeasible and bear the mark of a fertile imagination. The whole is significant, indeed, of the author's aptitudes, as well as combining in equal parts the characteristics of the teaching he received, as an architect, as a decorator and as an engraver. It is, in fact, the production of a pupil of Palladio tormented by reminiscences of the Baroque, expert in all the skills of his art, accustomed to the fictitious breadth and richness of the architecture of the stage [...] The five additional plates added to the 1750 edition [...] were executed between 1743 and 1745. They probably constitute the elements of the Seconda parte that the title of the first collection suggests and that will not be published separately, but will be inserted in the Opere varie that appeared from 1743 to 1757" (transl. from Piranese, un rêve de pierre et d'encre, Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France. January 20 to April 10, 2020)
"Piranesi was an artist as skillful as he was tireless; he brought his art to a degree of perfection combining precision with the warmth of an energetic and picturesque execution." (transl. from Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale, T40, pp.298-300)
"He was one of the best drawers of architecture and ruins, and one of the most picturesque engravers that the 18th century produced. Never had ruined or well-preserved architecture been engraved with such taste; he had imitators and still has no rivals..." (transl. from Dictionnaire des Artistes, in the article Gravure)
"He knew how to imprint on his works the sublimity of the antique; the most beautiful ancient ornaments, the vases, the views of the greatest monuments, took on a new existence under his burin, were embellished with the coloring that is proper to them, and soon formed a collection that was as numerous as it was rich." (transl. from Nouveau dictionnaire universel, historique, biographique..., John Watkins, J.B. L'Ecuy, volume 2, p.1081)