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The Aqueduct of Nero Leading to the Palatine; a Branch of the Aqua Claudia, 1775

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Emperor Nero (37–68) appears to have ordered the construction of this mile-and-a-quarter stretch of aqueduct (an elevated waterway) to serve Rome’s Palatine Hill after a devastating fire in the year 64 CE. Piranesi’s diagonal composition dramatizes the structure’s imposing scale. His inscription tells us that Pope Clement XIV (r. 1769–74) rescued the ancient aqueduct’s remains when others wanted to raze them. Clement shared Piranesi’s love of Rome’s proud past and worked to save monuments and smaller works of art.

The Aqueduct of Nero Leading to the Palatine; a Branch of the Aqua Claudia
Artist Life
Italian, 1720–1778
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind 118 i/iii(p. 69); Wilton-Ely
Curator Approved

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48; black and white