Piranesi, Paestum and Soane
by John Wilton-Ely, published by Prestel, 2013
120 pages, hardcover
A renowned scholar examines the beauty and impact of drawings and prints by Piranesi, as well as the Italian architect's relationship with his friend and colleague Sir John Soane. An 18th-century architect and printmaker, Giovanni Battista Piranesi was a lifelong champion of Rome, publishing more than 1,000 etchings of the Eternal City and its ancient monuments. Piranesi's English contemporary Sir John Soane was also an architect specializing in the neoclassical style. When the two artists met, they formed a profound and complex creative and intellectual relationship that nurtured Soane's later career. Among Soane's greatest legacies is the London museum that bears his name, and some of its most important holdings are a number of preparatory drawings Piranesi developed for a publication on the Greek temples at Paestum. These drawings are accomplished examples of Piranesi's topographical observation and great works of art in their own right. This book offers exquisite reproductions of the drawings as well as 30 additional works from Piranesi's oeuvre. Together they offer a unique understanding of early Greek classical architecture seen through the work of an 18th-century master.