The Easel

Piranesi Drawings: Visions of Antiquity

Unable to succeed as an architect, Piranesi chose instead to make prints of ancient Roman buildings. Tourists on the Grand Tour loved them, making him the 18th century’s “greatest printmaker”. Architecturally sensible images gradually became towering edifices that Piranesi imagined for ancient Rome. Perhaps their fantasy element explains their lingering influence, like inspiring sets on the Hollywood film Blade Runner.