Photograph by Richard Nowitz; all etchings the property of St. Luke’s Gallery, Washington D.C.

Piranesi produced numerous studies of the most recognizable ancient building in Rome: the Colosseum, begun by Vespasian (69–79 A.D.) and dedicated by Titus in the year 80. This etching, evoking the rise of Rome, captures the soaring sweep of the Colosseum’s facade, an imposing structure delicately supported by three tiers of arcades.