24 5/8 x 32 3/4 inches, Two joined, engraved sheets. Trimmed close lower left margin to facilitate folding, unobtrusive ownership stamp lower right, else excellent.
A scarce German-published edition of the great 17th-century plan of Rome by Falda, first published in a two-sheet version, as here, in 1667 and then expanded to a magnificent 12-sheet production published 1676, a year before the present work. The quality of the engraving of this edition, here performed by Johann Meyer, rises to that of the original Italian editions. It was published by Jacob von Sandrart (1630-1708), also a printmaker, engraver and painter, who was fairly prolific in the cartographic field.
The value and appeal of this oblique aerial view lay in the sharp detail with which the Eternal City's iconic buildings and monuments are depicted. As nearly all still stand today, they are readily recognizable. They include the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Piazza del Popolo, the Church of San Giovanni Laterno, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Vatican, which is dominated by the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Castel Sant’Angelo. Most notable is the great oval Colonnade that lines the square in front of St. Peter’s, which had only been completed in 1666 by the Gianlorenzo Bernini, one of the towering figures of the Baroque Era. In all, the plan indexes a remarkable 253 structures in the tables at lower left and right, while streets, plazas and courtyards are named on the view itself. The work even manages to depict the gardens and layouts of the grounds of the villas and monasteries surrounding the city. The view both in its detail and in the lush quality of the engraving presents a flourishing city, reflecting the prosperity it was enjoying at the time.
The Sandrart edition has at upper left a portrait of Pope Innocent XI (papacy 1676 to 1689) that is not on either of the Italian editions. Its layout differs as well, but we have not had the opportunity to investigate more detailed differences. The plan appeared in Sandrart's manual for artists, L'Academia Todesca Della Architectora, Scultura Et Pittura... (Nuremberg, 1675-79).
Giovanni Battista Falda (c. 1640–1678) was an Italian architect and engraver known mainly for his engravings of contemporary and antique structures in Rome. He spent his life primarily in Rome, where he started to work with the publisher Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi. He engraved works on both the fountains and palaces of Rome, the latter having been published in 1655 in collaboration with Pietro Ferrerio.