Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Piranesi, Giovanni Battista

 

Born Oct. 4, 1720, in Mojano, Veneto; died Nov. 9, 1778, in Rome. Italian engraver and architect.

Piranesi was influenced by ancient Greek and Roman architecture and by baroque set design (Galli da Bibbiena). Working in a technique that combined etching with engraving, Piranesi created architectural fantasies, which are striking in the superhuman grandeur of spatial solutions and dramatic chiaroscuro (for example, the cycles Carceri d’Invenzione, c. 1745–50 and 1760–61). He invested his landscape engravings with an element of romantic invention, which make the architectural monuments particularly impressive and picturesque (the cycles The Etchings of Rome, 2 vols., 1748–88). Piranesi’s engravings, particularly those of a decorative nature, greatly influenced the development of the Empire style.

REFERENCES

Toropov, S. A. Dzhovanni Battista Piranezi: Izbrannye oforty. Moscow, 1939.
Volkmann, H. G. B. Piranesi, Architekt und Graphiker. Berlin, 1965.