The art of Piranesi

Entering this exhibition is like walking into one of Piranesi’s works. Dark, moody, extravagant – I am not really sure where to look first or what I will discover. Walls upon walls of his etchings hang in soft pools of light. They draw me in close, into Piranesi’s world of antiquities and what a place it is. Ruined and overrun, it is still beautiful, fragile yet enduring. Piranesi’s works capture my imagination because he has taken the fragments of great and wondrous civilizations and extrapolated upon them to create a body of work that can be viewed both as documentary evidence and artistic creation.

At the centre of the first room, I sit in front of an animation of Piranesi’s ‘Carceri’ series. It is like entering the mind of Piranesi. It is an exhilarating experience. Continuing into the second room I discover a selection of Piranesi’s more elaborate and creative design objects realised to his exact specifications. A fireplace, teapot, candelabra… The technology used to create these works is worthy of an exhibition of its own.

The upper level of the exhibition finishes with a series of photographic works by Gabriele Basilico. Iconic images of Rome are contrasted with those created by Piranesi. Images of the same iconic ruins, one created now and one 250 years ago – not only does this allow me to see the simultaneous creativity and realism of Piranesi’s work but forces me to contemplate how time is inconsequential for the great structures of humanity.

More often than not, recent exhibitions I have visited have left me feeling like I have not been satisfied – I am hungry for more and disappointed that the exhibition did not go to that next level, whatever that might be. To see such a complete collection of works from one artist is inspiring. Piranesi was extremely prolific and each one of his works is worth investigating. This exhibition gave me the opportunity to explore his works through numerous means and left me feeling like I had actually inhabited Piranesi’s world for an hour or two.

Exhibition location: Sale del Convitto, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: