Piranesi: The Grandeur of Ancient Rome

This collection represents a selection of etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, one of the greatest masters of the art of neoclassical etching. The series includes views of Roman architecture, illustrating various periods of Piranesi's progress as an artist.

Piranesi, who was born in Venice in 1720, was a superb technician whose work extended the possibilities of etching beyond anything achieved by his contemporaries. He imposed new proportions on the real world in which the people were reduced to little figures, making the grandness of the Roman facades and the elevations of the building interiors startling.

Included in this collection are earlier views of Rome in which light blends buildings with backgrounds of city landscapes. Later works include etchings in which single buildings loom dark against the sky. Piranesi's final work includes bird's eye panorama views that Piranesi constructed from notes made by studying perspectives from the ground and by climbing walls.