Baroque and Rococo

 

Baroque and Rococo Art Map





Giovanni Battista Piranesi



 

 

 


PIRANESI AND ROME

One of the most important precursors of Neoclassical and Romantic architecture. Giovanni Battista Piranesi (l720-78) was more influential as an etcher than an architect. Born in Venice, he trained as an architect and moved to Rome in 1740. where he designed his only built work, the church of Santa Maria del Priorato (1764—65). In his printed work, however, Piranesi advocated Rome's position in the classical world. In Roman Antiques (1756), he sought to interpret the entire Roman civilization and its ethical and symbolic values. Piranesi maintained that Roman art, with us splendour and loftiness, surpassed Greek art, which the German art historian Johann Winckelmann had identified as the ideal of beauty and perfection, a thesis that he supported in his polemical work On the Architecture and Magnificence of the Romans (1761). It was, however, his Views of Ancient and Modern Rome, (published from 1745), with its poetic images of Italian ruins and antiquities, that was so effective in moulding the Romantic ideal of Rome abroad. His series, Carceri d'invenzione, (c.1745). was a subjective depiction of fantastic and imaginary prisons, and evoked a nightmarish, hallucinatory world.

 

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

born Oct. 4, 1720, Mestre, near Venice [Italy]
died Nov. 9, 1778, Rome, Papal States


also called Giambattista Piranesi Italian draftsman, printmaker, architect, and art theorist. His large prints depicting the buildings of classical and postclassical Rome and its vicinity contributed considerably to Rome's fame and to the growth of classical archaeology and to the Neoclassical movement in art.

At the age of 20 Piranesi went to Rome as a draftsman for the Venetian ambassador. He studied with leading printmakers of the day and settled permanently in Rome in 1745. It was during this period that he developed his highly original etching technique, producing rich textures and bold contrasts of light and shadow by means of intricate, repeated bitings of the copperplate.

He created about 2,000 plates in his lifetime. The “Prisons” of about 1745 are his finest early prints; they depict ancient Roman or Baroque ruins converted into fantastic, visionary dungeons filled with mysterious scaffolding and instruments of torture. Among his best mature prints are the series Le Antichità romane (1756; “Roman Antiquities”), the Vedute di Roma (“Views of Rome”; appearing as single prints between 1748 and 1778), and the views of the Greek temples at Paestum (1777–78). His unparalleled accuracy of depiction, his personal expression of the structures' dramatic and romantic grandeur, and his technical mastery made these prints some of the most original and impressive representations of architecture to be found in Western art.
 

 
 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Self-Portrait

Engraving
Various collections

 

 

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
View of Campo Vaccino
,
 etching from Views of Rome

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
View of the Arch of Constanthe and the Colosseum
,
 etching from Views of Rome.
Gabinetto Nazionaie delle Stampe, Rome

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Well

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Carceri d'Invenzione

1749-50
Engraving
Various collections

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Prisons (plate VII)

c. 1760
Etching, 545 x 415 mm
Various collections

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Prisoners on a Projecting Platform

1749-60
Etching and engraving (first state of two)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Prisons (plate IV)

c. 1760
Etching, 54,5 x 41,5 cm
Various collections

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Trevi Fountain in Rome

1773
Copper engraving
Private collection

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Antichita Romane

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
II Campo Mazio dell'Antica Rome

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Veduta del piedestallo

 

 


Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Vedute di Roma
 

 

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