PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1720, Mestre, d. 1778, Roma)
Etching, 1st state of 6, 556 x 418 mm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
This print is sheet 3 of the series "Prisons".
In comparison with the first prison designs, which also appeared in the 18th century, Piranesi's imaginary constructions are striking for their irrationality. A keen scholar of ancient architecture, he invests them with fine proportions, yet more convincingly depicts chaos, something that still repelled his contemporaries but would soon become attractive to the Romantics - artists and naturalists.