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XL books are at least 34 cm (13.4 in.) high, with the exception of landscape-format titles

Piranesi. The Complete Etchings

80Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)Availability: In Stock
Explore the complete etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the 18th-century engraver famed for his architectural views of Rome and his imaginary prisons. In this edition, you’ll find all the extraordinary detail and fantasy with which Piranesi shaped not only the European image of Italy, but also an impressive artistic legacy, from Edgar Allan Poe to the moving staircases at Hogwarts.
Hardcover9.8 x 13.4 in.8.37 lb788 pages
“The Eternal City has never looked as poetic as in the hand of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the greatest printmaker of the 18th century. This new oversize coffee table book unites all his etchings of Rome’s crumbling monuments and fantastical gardens.”
The New York Times
“Piranesi was as savage as Salvator Rosa, fierce as Michelangelo, and exuberant as Rubens.”
Horace Walpole
XL books are at least 34 cm (13.4 in.) high, with the exception of landscape-format titles
Piranesi. The Complete Etchings

Piranesi. The Complete Etchings


Archaeology and Imagination

Impossible staircases and startling ruins from Italy’s master engraver

The most famous 18th-century copper engraver, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) made his name with etchings of ancient Rome. His startling, chiaroscuro images imbued the city’s archaeological ruins with drama and romance and became favorite souvenirs for the Grand Tourists who traveled Italy in pursuit of classical culture and education.

Today, Piranesi is renowned not just for shaping the European imagination of Rome, but also for his elaborate series of fanciful prisons, Carceri, which have influenced generations of creatives since, from the Surrealists to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, and Franz Kafka.

Loosely based on contemporary stage sets rather than the actual dingy dungeons of Piranesi’s day, these intricate images defy architectural reality to play instead with perspective, lighting, and scale. Staircases exist on two planes simultaneously; vast, vaulted ceilings seem to soar up to the heavens; interior and exterior distinctions collapse. With a low viewpoint and small, fragile figures, the prison scenes become monstrous megacities of incarceration, celebrated to this day as masterworks of existentialist drama.
The author

Luigi Ficacci studied art history in Rome under Giulio Carlo Argan. For many years, he was curator at the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome and general museum director (Soprintendente ai Beni Culturali) in Bologna and in Lucca. He also lectured at various Italian universities. Until 2021, he was director of the Central Institute for Restoration (Istituto centrale per il restauro) in Rome. The focal points of his research work are the issues raised by 17th and 18th century and contemporary Italian and European art.

Piranesi. The Complete Etchings
Hardcover25 x 34 cm3.79 kg788 pages

ISBN 978-3-8365-8761-7

Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)
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1 Rating

Elaine C.,February 15, 2024
Loved everything about this book. Piranesi is my husband’s favourite artist and he has wanted this book for a long time. It did not disappoint.