Friday, March 14, 2008

Spelonca della Ninfa Egeria detta volgarmente la Cafarella

This is a copy of a print by Piranesi. The text below translates: Grotto of the Nymph Egeria commonly called the Cafarella. Piranesi was very famous in the 18th Century for his prints of Views of Rome. Any serious collector of antique prints will have at least one of his works. Many of his final prints were quite large, and, in fact there is a large version of this one. I believe that this was a preliminary print, done prior to his final large one. I tried to buy the large one as well, but I lost out by one bid...I really couldn't afford it, but I thought it was important for family history. I do, in fact own this one, purchased from a gallery in Belgium. This ruin still exists south of Rome in the Caffarella Park. This is a huge rural park that is used as a recreational area and as an outdoor museum of the antiquities there from Roman and Medieval times. It is located outside the San Sebastian Gate along the Via Appia Antica, near the famous catacombs and just south and east of the church known as Domine Quo Vadis. This property was purchased by the Cafarella family in the 15th century and was held by them till the 18th century. I will post text describing the park and it's history separately from this post. What I find interesting is the spelling of the name. The Cafarelli, Caffarella and Cafarella family I believe were all one and as evidenced in the 18th century print were spelled Cafarella at least by some. As spelling had no hard and fast rules at that time, this is not much of a stretch. I passed a copy of this print on to Dusty and Anna Burrill, by another artist in the nineteenth century who spelled it with two F's.

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