PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1720, Mestre, d. 1778, Roma)
Santa Maria del Priorato, Rome
It was the work of Piranesi, the most dazzling artist of his age, which demonstrated how architecture and city were viewed during the transition from the late Baroque to the early Neo-classical style.
Piranesi's representations of city and architecture were theatrical. Drama and poetry were the main themes of his engravings, the main subjects of which were his famous picturesque ruins. The approach and technique were essentially those of a late Baroque artist. This was demonstrated in the exaggerated proportions and the predominance of the diagonals reflecting the influence of the diagonal stage. His work as an architect was similar, particularly his plans for Santa Maria del Priorato. The square and the garden maze designed for the richly decorated church façade, the interior, and, above all, the altar provide a series of bizarre compositions drawn from archeological finds and following almost incidentally on from each other. Their settings are, however, highly effective.
The picture shows the façade of the church.