Piranesi Giovanni Battista

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78)
When Piranesi first arrived in Rome in 1740 there was an already established market for views of the city as Grand Tour souvenirs. His Vedute however, executed from about 1748 until the end of his life transcended mere topographical accuracy and became a heroic and tragic vision to the power of Roman architecture. Two aspects of Piranesi's Venetian background were key to the enabling of this vision: his training in engineering and stone construction which helped engender an appreciation of the effects of massive masonry - in particular the poetic effect of ruins - and his training in stage design which cultivated a sensitivity to effects of light and great skill in both linear and atmospheric perspective.
These architectonic/scenographic concerns found heightened and highly personal expression in Piranesi's series of fantasic prison interiors - the Carceri d'Invenzione - which first appeared in the 1740's. Piranesi's work as a designer is characterised by a highly imaginative eclecticism of style, a trait reflecting his belief in a creative attitude towards the use of antique sources.
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