Piranesi, Rome, and the Arts of Design Symposium Part 2
John Pinto, Ph.D., Howard Crosby Butler Memorial Professor of Art and Archeology, Princeton University
Piranesi's "Speaking Ruins:" Fragment and Fantasy
Shortly after his first visit to Rome, Giovanni Battista Piranesi memorably wrote, "Speaking ruins have filled my spirit with images that accurate drawings could never have succeeded in conveying." Piranesi's appreciation of the expressive nature of ruins is telling. So, too, is the distinction he makes between experiencing ancient architecture directly, through on-site examination, on the one hand, and studying it at several removes by means of measured drawings, on the other. Piranesi provides a poetic distillation of over three centuries of reappraisals of the value and meaning of ruins for humanists, antiquarians, and architects. Professor Pinto's lecture will use Piranesi's graphic work to explore his virtuoso variations on the theme of the fragment, his analytic strategies, and his visionary engagement with the past. It was Piranesi's genius to bridge the gap between past and present, between source and invention, thereby breathing new life into the classical legacy.