Rome Books, Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Rome Books, Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Rome Books
Giovanni Battista Piranesic
About 1700
Lithograph
Museum no.LL2E.4036-1908
V&A Collection

Giovanni Battista (Giambattista) Piranesi (1720-1778) was an Italian artist known for his etchings of Rome and also imaginary prisons. From 1748-1774 he became famous for his detailed views of Rome. The city's Classical remains proved a rich source of material for his observational, allegorical and fanciful compositions, all exploring the fragmented architecture of Rome. These were published in bound volumes as Roman Antiquities of the Time of the First Republic and the First Emperors. Piranesi presents a view of Rome that is both documentary and visionary. The prints are 'cappricci': scenes combining Classical monuments and ruins in a picturesque setting. They strongly influenced Neoclassical art and architecture. Piranesi published more than a thousand etchings depicting Rome and its ancient monuments to promote his conception of the city and his aesthetic of monumentality.

This drawing can be viewed in the V&A Prints and Drawings Study Room.