In his lifetime Piranesi produced many 100s of architectural etchings inspired by ruins of Roman buildings. He also created imagined scenes in Venice and Rome, and famously a series of prison interiors filled with spatial paradoxes and implied horror. Piranesi remained a somewhat frustrated architect since his designs rarely left the etched plate, but his prints were hugely popular as important souvenirs with rich tourists to Rome and Venice making the Grand Tour of Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. This of course, meant his work has gained a large International client base and far-reaching reputation.
Piranesi regularly joined archeological excavations and revelled in the unearthing of the beautiful but decaying objects of a momentous past. His later etchings focused on fanciful restorations of ancient remains. As Jonathan Jones, writing for an article on Piranesi in the Guardian put it:
"Piranesi sold 'antiques': that is, he put together bits of ancient Roman sculpture that he and others had dug up - a carving of a lion's foot, a couple of fauns' heads - to fabricate imposing, profuse objects you can imagine gracing Nero's palace."
Our own collection is largely filled with these later, etchings: the imaginings of indulgent Roman grandeur. We love the impassioned attention to detail which give these works a sense of history and tradition combined with the dark imagination of a true genius.
His dramatically imagined scenes and objects combined with intensely detailed and accurate renditions of Roman ruins and artefacts are not only hugely impressive works of art, but also express the artist's deep and fanatical passion for a lost vision of Italy. He is one of the greatest printmakers of the 18th century.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EXHIBITION IS AT OUR COLLECTORS' STUDIO, (NOT THE GALLERY) WHICH IS OPEN ON SATURDAYS BETWEEN 11AM AND 6PM OR BY APPOINTMENT OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK.