Giovanni Battista Piranesi was born in Mogliano Veneto, near Treviso. He studied architecture under his uncle, Matteo Lucchesi. His most original works are etchings of extravagant, imaginary prisons, published as ‘Carceri d’Invenzione’ (1749/50). However, he is better known for views of ancient and modern Rome, published from 1745 onwards as ‘Vedute’, and for pro-Roman, anti-Greek writings, based on archaeological resources. Piranesi’s work greatly influenced 18th-century architecture and representations of the Decline and Fall of Rome. In 1757 he was made a member of the Society of Antiquaries in London. In 1771, Horace Walpole wrote: ‘Piranesi ...conceived visions of Rome beyond what it boasted even in the meridian of its splendour.’
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