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Colin Holden on Piranesi's 'Ruins in a Villa of Domitian'

Speaker(s): Dr Colin Holden

  • Date recorded: 23 Mar 2014

  • Duration: 02:51

'Eighteenth-century visitors to Rome commented on the poverty of rural people living in surrounding hill country'

- Dr Colin Holden

About this video

Italian 18th-century master-printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi was famous for his images of classical and baroque Rome. This 11-part video series reveals the details and meaning behind the figures depicted in prints featured in the Library's 2014 exhibition, Rome: Piranesi's vision.

In this video, exhibition curator Dr Colin Holden discusses how the ruined villa in this print, Avanzi d’un portico coperto, o criptoportico in una Villa di Domiziano (Ruins of a Covered Portico in a Villa of Domitian), represents the folly and delusive nature of unrestrained ambition and power.

Watch the other videos in this series:


Dr Colin Holden is a historian, curator and author. He was awarded the Redmond Barry Fellowship in 2010 to research the majestic works of 18th-century Italian printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi and the associated 2014 State Library exhibition, Rome: Piranesi's vision.