Definitions

Piranesi

Piranesi

[pee-rah-ne-zee]
Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-78, Italian etcher and architect. The greater part of his life was spent in Rome, where he made etchings of the buildings and monuments of the ancient and modern city. His architectural plates are notable for their accuracy and grandeur, although in his admiration for these monuments, he occasionally exaggerated their scale. In other etching series, he created fanciful reconstructions of Roman monuments and dark visions of imaginary prisons, as in the Carceri plates. The one existing building that he designed is the Church of Santa Maria Priorato, Rome (1764-65).

See studies by A. M. Hind (1922), A. H. Mayor (1952), H. Thomas (1954), P. Murray (1972), J. Scott (1975), and J. Wilton-Ely (1978).

or Giambattista Piranesi

(born Oct. 4, 1720, Mestre, near Venice—died Nov. 9, 1778, Rome, Papal States) Italian draftsman, printmaker, architect, and art theorist. He went to Rome at 20 as a draftsman for the Venetian ambassador. After settling there in 1747, he developed a highly original etching technique that produced rich textures and bold contrasts of light and shadow. His many prints of Classical and post-Classical Roman structures contributed to the growth of Classical archaeology and the Neoclassical art movement. He is best known today for his extraordinary series of imaginary prisons (Carceri d'invenzione, 1745). His prints are among the most impressive architectural representations in Western art.

Learn more about Piranesi, Giovanni Battista with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Giambattista Piranesi

(born Oct. 4, 1720, Mestre, near Venice—died Nov. 9, 1778, Rome, Papal States) Italian draftsman, printmaker, architect, and art theorist. He went to Rome at 20 as a draftsman for the Venetian ambassador. After settling there in 1747, he developed a highly original etching technique that produced rich textures and bold contrasts of light and shadow. His many prints of Classical and post-Classical Roman structures contributed to the growth of Classical archaeology and the Neoclassical art movement. He is best known today for his extraordinary series of imaginary prisons (Carceri d'invenzione, 1745). His prints are among the most impressive architectural representations in Western art.

Learn more about Piranesi, Giovanni Battista with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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