(PRINCETON, NJ) -- "Piranesi on the Page" tells the story of how Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1748), the foremost printmaker in 18th-century Europe, made the book the center of his artistic production. The exhibition runs in the Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery, located in the Firestone Library lobby, Princeton University, from October 8 through December 5, 2021.
Celebrating Princeton University’s collection of Piranesi works, the exhibition draws from the Library's Special Collections including Graphic Arts, Numismatic, and Rare Books; the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology; and the Princeton University Art Museum. The exhibition also features a number of loans from national and international collections, including several works that will be on display for the first time.
The exhibition is curated by Heather Hyde Minor, professor of art history at the University of Notre Dame and Carolyn Yerkes, associate professor of early modern architecture at Princeton University. "Piranesi Unbound," a book associated with the exhibition written by the curators, is available from the Princeton University Press.
Born in Venice, Piranesi came to Rome in 1740, seeking to become an architect. Finding no opportunities to build, he began to make paper monuments in the form of books. The pages he crafted became his most powerful and creative art form.
To make books, Piranesi had to think as a creator of prints, writer of texts, page designer, and printer—and sometimes as a publisher, dealer, and salesman. Over the course of his career, Piranesi created twelve volumes that combine printed text written with the help of humanist friends and images from etched and engraved copperplates. What did these volumes mean to him, who did they bring into his world, and how can the process of making them be understood throughout his career? This exhibition explores Piranesi’s books as the central thread that connects all spheres of his enormous ambition.
Members of the public can reserve 50-minute viewing slots on Thursdays between 3:00pm and 6:00pm, and Fridays through Sundays between 12:00pm and 3:00pm. Please note ALL visitors must be fully vaccinated and wear face coverings. The gallery and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. To book your visit, please click here.