New essays that shed light on the shadowy figure of Piranesi

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Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted April 2007 and April 2008.

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Piranesi was an architect, engraver, antiquities restorer and dealer, draftsman, archaeologist, furniture and fireplace designer, author, and bookseller. His creations in paper and in stone garnered considerable renown in his own lifetime, allowing him to transform himself from a penniless son of a stonemason to a wealthy entrepreneur. However, despite attempts to catalogue and analyze his work, little is known about Piranesi. Since Henri Focillon published his monograph on the artist in 1918, scholars have sought to expand his interpretive strategies used to examine Piranesi and his work. This volume is a representative sampling of the contemporary scholarship on Piranesi, with each essay scrutinizing a particular aspect of his oeuvre. By engaging with material found in eighteenth-century manuscripts and printed materials, as well as the texts and images Piranesi produced, the nine essays by esteemed contributors add to the rapidly growing and diversifying field of eighteenth-century studies. The outcome is a volume that will add to the expanding, glittering mosaic of Piranesi’s life and his work.

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Mario Bevilacqua is Associate Professor at the University of Florence, Italy.



Heather Hyde Minor is Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Fabio Barry is Assistant Professor at the American University of Rome, Italy.