Veduta della Basilica di S. Giovanni Laterano, Main Facade, from Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome)
15 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (39.4 x 54.6 cm)
Giovanni Battista Piranesi,
Medium and Support:
The Lateran is the first cathedral of Rome, where Emperor Constantine allowed the Pope to set up the Episcopal chair after 312. The original basilica burned down twice in the fourteenth century, and in the seventeenth century, what remained was in danger of collapsing. Pope Innocent X gave the task of restoring the building to the famous architect, Francesco Borromini, in preparation for the Holy Year of 1650. It was during Borromini's restoration that the church was given its Baroque look seen here.