The State Library of Victoria is offering art lovers the opportunity to see the work of one of Italy’s greatest printmakers, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78). Like so many of the the best Italian artists of the 18th century Piranesi was Venetian, although he spent most of his artistic life in Rome, where he settled in 1745.
This exhibition showcases Piranesi’s images of classical and baroque Rome, revealing his passion for Roman classical architecture and his very able printmaking skills.
Drawing on the rich collections of the State Library and the University of Melbourne, together with loans from the National Gallery of Victoria and private lenders, the exhibition shows how Piranesi’s work captures Rome in the era of the Grand Tour. His elaborate images reveal a city of contrasts: grand churches, imposing palaces and monumental ruins peopled by aristocrats, tourists, priests and beggars.
Piranesi is widely regarded as one of the most important engravers and printmakers of the 18th century and among the greatest architectural artists of all time. His prints are treasured by artists, galleries, libraries and collectors throughout the world, in particular his Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome) series of 135 oversized prints which have become iconic images. Many of these significant works will be on display in the exhibition. It will also feature his rare early works and his dramatic, surreal prisons.
More information about the exhibition and associated events is available of the State Library’s website here.