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Piranesi, Giovanni ˜ Centaur Art Galleries

View Art By: Piranesi, Giovanni

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

Born: 4 October 1720
Died: 9 November 1778
Nationality: Italian

Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric “prisons”

Biography of Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78), was a Venetian architect who went to Rome in 1740 and became the recorder of Roman antiquities in hundreds of etchings. His feeling for the poetry of ruins, his romantic archaeology, and his intensely dramatic exploitation of the contrasts of light and shade possible in etching exerted great influence on 18th-century architecture, and even more on the whole visual approach to Antiquity and the Decline and Fall. His most original works are the Carceri d’Invenzione (begun c.1745, reworked 1761) of imaginary and megalomaniac prisons, but he was far more famous for his Vedute, 135 etchings of ancient and modern Rome, published from 1745 onwards, and for his violent archaeological polemics (pro-Roman and anti-Greek). TheVedute continued to be printed long after his death and formed the basis of the mental image of Rome possessed by thousands who never went there, and, with Panini, he created a lasting picture of Rome, as Canaletto and Guardi created one of Venice. In his lifetime (1771) Horace Walpole spoke of “…the sublime dreams of Piranesi, who seems to have conceived visions of Rome beyond what it boasted even in the meridian of its splendour. Savage as Salvator Rosa, fierce as Michaelangelo, and exuberant as Rubens, he has imagined scenes that would startle geometry, and exhaust the Indies to realise.”

 
Artistic Works by: Piranesi, Giovanni ∼ Centaur Art Gallery
 
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