Artist Research – Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 – 1778) was well known for his detailed etchings of Rome, Italy. His work was suggested to me when I started considering the Italian backdrop of my Invisible Cities text as they both beautifully depict Italian cities, as well as examples of how powerful detailed prints can be. Some of the scenes feel very still, but could very easily draw movement from sequenced images to tell a story.

A popular series of etchings were the 16 ‘Imaginary Prisons’ prints which show huge industrial scenes within impressive architecture. A small but crucial feature of these works is the inclusion of tiny figures around the scenes which reinforce the scale of the rooms and make the compositions really come to life.


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