PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1720, Mestre, d. 1778, Roma)

Prisoners on a Projecting Platform

Etching and engraving (first state of two)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Although a native of Venice, Piranesi went to Rome at 20 and spent most of his life in that ancient city that was to inspire most of his nearly one thousand etchings. He studied architecture, engineering, and stage design, and his best known series, Carceri (Prisons), consisted of 14 plates depicting stage prisons that he himself described as "capricious inventions". The spatial and architectural ambiguities, as well as the dramatic use of light and form, are characteristic of this series.

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