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G.B. Piranesi

Published by Rome

Art / Print / Poster

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About this Item: Rome. Condition: Excellent. John Wilton-Ely 304There is a watermark present in the shape of a fleur-de-lis but presicely which one is unknown due to the heavy ink1760-1790This print is from the series \"Le Antichita Romane\" \"After over eight years of careful study and excavation Piranesi produced this four-volume work which swiftly established his reputation in Europe as the leading protagonist of Roman archaeology. More than other such antiquarian works, the 250 plates of the Antichita played a dominant role in conveying information, and Piranesi was to develop a whole new range of specialized illustarions in order to reveal aspects of antiquity which had hitherto been largely neglected. His aim, as with all his archaeological publications, was two-fold - to record the vanishing past for scholars and to inspire contemporary designers to emilate the achievements of the past.\" (John Wilton Ely pg 327)Giovanni Battista Piranesi was one of the leading figures in the development of the neoclassical style in the late 18th Century. As architect, archaeologist, artist, designer, collector, and antiquities dealer, he produced a series of etchings and engravings depicting the glories of ancient Rome. These fine prints served as source material for other architects and designers. He was born in Venice on the 4th October 1720. The son of a stone-mason, he was educated as an architect under his maternal uncle Matto Lucchesi and under Carlo Zucchi. In 1740 Piranesi left Venice for Rome, there he studied etching under Giuseppe Vasi. He appears to have had little success in these early years in Rome and as his father was unable to continue his allowance returned to Venice in 1744. He was soon, however, encouraged to return to Rome by Giuseppe Wagner, a successful engraver and publisher of Venice. This time he achieved success, and a constant series of works, illustrating architecture and antiquities, issued from his studio until his death in 1778. His output in etched plates is enormous (about 1000 numbers in all). While he achieved a work of magnitude in pictorial records of Roman monuments of antiquity and of the Renaissance, and gave immense archæological, antiquarian, and topographical value to this work, the artistic quality always predominates. He was fond of peopling his ruins with Callot-like figures, and \"like Callot makes great use of the swelling line\" (Hind). He had two sons and a daughter, all of whom helped him in his work and after his death carried on his publications in Rome and Paris. They were Francesco (born 1748 or 1756; died 1810), Pietro (who lived till after 1807) and Laura (born 1750). His position in Rome and in Europe after 1760 was a prominent one. He was well-known figure to the wealthy English visitors in Rome and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1757. Most of his life was passed in Rome, etching, writing, publishing, and directing a workshop in which the restoration and sale of antiques played a considerable part.He was famous for his poetic views of Rome and also his fantastic imaginary interiors. His skills, allied to his deep knowledge of archaeology, provided the substance for his Vedute (Views), a series of 135 etchings of ancient and contemporary Rome, published from 1745 onwards, which established the popular mental image of the city. Vasi.et Ornamenti Antichi was a collection of 110 etchings documenting large sculptural vases, together with other antiquities excavated (and in some cases created) in Italy in the 18th century. The prints were initially separately issued and sold by Piranesi over a period of several years and subsequently collected in two folio volumes, each with its own title page, in 1778. They illustrate a wide range of genuine antiquities, as well as Piranesi\'s own collections, from utilitarian objects such as cinerary urns, lamps, and sarcophagi to monumental vases. The plates in Vasi often included text by Piranesi with information about where the objects were discovered and their con. Seller Inventory # P1679

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