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Piranesi image

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778)
Architectural Fantasy
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash
12 15/16 x 19 5/16 inches (329 x 491 mm)
Gift of Janos Scholz; 1974.27
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Piranesi exerted considerable influence on late-eighteenth-century architecture through his hauntingly beautiful etchings, such as the Views of Rome and the prison compositions known as the Carceri. Here the classical triumphal arch—usually freestanding—has been incorporated into a complex building. Remarkable grandeur and drama are achieved through the close presentation of the edifice at an oblique angle and from a low vantage point, techniques often used in contemporaneous stage designs.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.