Sunday, 30 January 2011

Giovanni Piranesi (1720-1778)...

When reading about Erik Desmazieres i came across Giovanni Piranesi an Italian artist famous for his also famous for etchings, particularly of Rome and fictitious and atmospheric "prisons".

The Prisons (Carceri d'invenzione or 'Imaginary Prisons'), is a series of 16 prints produced in first and second states that show enormous subterranean vaults with stairs and mighty machines. These in turn influenced Romanticism and Surrealism. While the Vedutisti (or "view makers") such as Canaletto and Bellotto, more often reveled in the beauty of the sunlit place, in Piranesi this vision takes on a Kafkaesque, Escher-like distortion, seemingly erecting fantastic labyrinthian structures, epic in volume, but empty of purpose. They are cappricci -whimsical aggregates of monumental architecture and ruin. The series was started in 1745. The first state prints were published in 1750 and consisted of 14 etchings, untitled and unnumbered, with a sketch-like look. For the second publishing in 1761, all the etchings were reworked and numbered I–XVI (1–16). Numbers II and V were new etchings to the series. Numbers I through IX were all done in portrait format, while X to XVI were landscape. Though untitled, their conventional titles are:

1. Title Page

3. Round Tower

4. The Grand Piazza

5. The Lion Bas-Reliefs

6. The Smoking Fire

7. The Drawbridge

8. The Staircase with Trophies

9. The Giant Wheel

10. Prisoners on a Projecting Platform

11. The Arch with a Shell Ornament

12. The Sawhorse

13. The Well

14. The Gothic Arch

15. Pier with a Lamp

16. Pier with Chains

1 comment: