18th CenturyAntique PrintsEngravingItalian

Antique Etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi – the Arch of Janus

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Arch of Janus with the Arch of the Money Changers
Tempio detto volgarm di Giano
Rome 1771 – Original Etching from Vedute di Roma

2nd State – 46.5 x 70 cm

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
October 4, 1720 – November 9, 1778

Portrait of Giovanni Battista Piranesi by Felice Polanzani, 1756 [via WikiMedia Commons]
Giovanni Battista (or GiambattistaPiranesi was an 18th century Italian archeologist, architect and artist, renowned for his etching of classical Rome and his series of imaginary prisons.  The son of a stonemason, he was born in Venice, he studied Latin and classical greek and roman history, and learned architecture as an apprentice at the side of his uncle who was responsible for restoring historical buildings in the city.  In Rome he studied with Guiseppi Vasi and at the French Academy of Rome and began to produce his famous “vedute” (views) of Rome’s grandeur, and ultimately became best known as an artist rather than an architect.  Piranese’s large format engravings of the monuments of antiquity were popular with Romantic period travelers visiting Italy on their Grand Tour, and this spread the artist’s fame and fascination across Europe.

Below: Works by Piranesi blend well in almost any style of interior.  Below two imaginings of this work in situ.