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Giovanni Battista Piranesi

1720 Mogliano – 1778 Rome

The etcher and architect, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, was born near Venice and settled in Rome in 1740, where he was to stay for the rest of his career (with the exception of a short period in Venice 1744-5). In 1766 he was given the title of Cavaliere dello Speron d'oro (Cavalier of the Golden Spur) by Pope Clement XIII. Piranesi was deeply fascinated by the ancient architecture of Rome. His genius enabled him to blend the revival of interest in archaeology in his time with a highly idiosyncratic, visionary imagination and abundant artistic creativity. HIs figurative world apparently knew no bounds and his immense energy enabled him to produce an opulent and varied printed oeuvre, which not only deeply impressed his contemporaries, but also continues to exert a tremendous attraction on today’s beholders of his works.