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Giovanni Battista Piranesi Biography

1720 - 1778

Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an Italian Classical archaeologist, architect, and artist, famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric “prisons”.

Piranesi’s work as an archaeologist, which was recognised at the time by his election to the Society of Antiquaries of London, merits close examination. His contribution to technical illustrations in antique literature is sometimes overlooked. He wrote explanations regarding the ornament and structure in the lower margin. The majority of the historic structures in Rome were left amid gardens and fields. With his engravings, Piranesi attempted to keep them alive. Piranesi pushed himself to produce realistic art in order to accomplish this. In Piranesi’s engravings, a third of the monuments are missing, and the stucco and surfacings have frequently been removed or badly repaired and altered. Piranesi’s acute observational abilities enable readers to feel as though they are in Rome in the eighteenth century. Piranesi might have understood his responsibility for conveying important information through poignant imagery. In 1751, he was appointed director of the Portici Museum.

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