A Massive Beautifully Framed Etching of A Candelabra,
Giovanni Battista Piranesi,
Early 19th Century
Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi disegnati ed incisi dal Cav. Gio. Batt. Piranesi, Vol. I (Vases, candelabra, grave stones, sarcophagi, tripods, lamps, and ornaments designed and etched by Cavalieri Giovanni Battista Piranesi)
Dimensions: 36 1/2 inches x 26 3/4 inches
The etching is framed with a green ground and gold double border with Cream French matting with applied flower heads to corners.
The candelabra has an inscription around it and the one below translates as a dedication to his friend, Mr. John Laffany, a famous painter of our times.
This elaborate candelabrum, now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, represents one of Piranesi's more creative "restorations." Produced during a period when Piranesi was collaborating with the Scottish painter Gavin Hamilton in the restoration and sale of antiquitiesmany uncovered in the excavations at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoliit combines a number of diverse ancient fragments to create a new work. More Piranesian than ancient in its effect, this assemblage exemplifies Piranesi's belief in the freedom of designers to draw from a variety of sources to enrich their invention. A similarly fantastic candelabrum, now in the Louvre, formerly served as an ornament to Piranesi's own tomb. The handsome series of etchings after ancient vases, candelabra, funerary urns, and other recently excavated decorative objectssome less extensively restoredserved to advertise wares available in Piranesi's workshop as well as to document rare pieces that were leaving the country, such as the Warwick Vase. (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/126.96.36.199.14)
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)
is one of the greatest eighteenth century Italian printmakers and one of the leading figures in the development of the neoclassical style. Venetian by birth, he settled in Rome in 1740. He was the son of a mason and master builder and had a wide ranging training in architecture, stage design and perspective composition. Piranesi had little success in his early years in Rome but once established there he became a well-known figure producing a vast number of etchings illustrating Roman architecture and antiquities until his death in 1778.
This print is from a series of etchings made by Piranesi documenting antiquities excavated in Italy in the 18th century many of which had passed through Piranesis restoration workshop which he had established in Rome.The plates that Piranesi produced included text with information on the circumstances of discovery of each object and their contemporary location. The prints also bore dedications to Piranesis patrons and influential friends.
Alongside Piranesis other publications, the series of prints published in Vasi had a major influence on the development of the neo-classical style and served as source material for many architects and designers. In particular, Piranesi was well known among wealthy English visitors to Rome who were frequent visitors to his workshop and who used the Grand Tour to add to their collections of antiquities.
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