|1756||Giovanni Battista Piranesi||Le antichità romane||#253|
Keywords: cityscape, capricci, etching
The simple outward observation of the remains of the ancient magnificence of Rome has sufficed to reform the idea of the good taste of architecture, previously depraved by the crude and unhappy manners of the barbarians. Having spent years recording artefacts and buildings, including the extensive ruins of ancient sepulchre and aqueduct, G.B. Piranesi published this collection of over two hundred plates ( Etching was his game). About half of the items, he recorded are now lost. He achieved magical and mysterious views of Rome in a perfect combination between the perspective, theatrical composition and play between light and shade. He used the technique of chiaroscuro.
The scenes he captured are not ordinary. They often contain partly or completely imaginary elements, known as capricci. Highly detailed, usually large-scale prints of a cityscape or some other vista. Its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues. Their purpose is simple, to show and to share the beauty of the monuments and to keep them immortal, bound and preserved in a book. The victory of the arts over the time.
“……I have therefore portrayed in the present volumes, with possible exquisiteness, the aforesaid remains, representing many of them not only in their external elevation, but also in plan and inside; distinguishing the members by means of sessions, and profiles; and indicating the materials, and sometimes the manner of their construction, according to what I have been able to portray in the course of many years from indefatigable very exact observations, cables, and researches; things which have never been practiced in the past, and which can particularly serve to elucidate the precepts of Vitruvius….”
Distinguished by an unprecedented imaginative breadth and fluent technique, which derived from his training in both Venice and Rome. These arcane and highly personal works constitute a sequence of brilliant improvisations on the theme of ancient buildings and their geometry. Not only do his catalogues record the position, size and subject but it also postulates the importance of housing to a thinker. The Beautiful Orderliness of the House is what gives us Life and bread.
about the maestro himself: At the age of 20 Piranesi moved to Rome, where he studied the ancient monuments of this city. He made original etchings on the theme of ancient and modern Roman landscapes, which brought him popularity. Later, he created series of etchings of fantastic prison interiors. At his fifties, Piranesi’s interest in archaeology took him to southern Italy, where he produced drawings and etchings of Greek architecture. During the expedition, health problems forced him to return to Rome, where he died at the age of fifty-eight.