Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Camera sepolcrale inventata a disegnata conforme al costume, e all' antica magnificenza degl' Imperatori Romani (Imaginary sepulcral chamber designed according to the fashion and ancient magnificence of the Roman Emperors ...)

Camera sepolcrale inventata a disegnata conforme al costume, e all' antica magnificenza degl' Imperatori Romani  (Imaginary sepulcral chamber designed according to the fashion and ancient magnificence of the Roman Emperors ...) by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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The city of Rome was riddled with ancient catacombs. Prior to the Empire's acceptance of Christianity, Romans were cremated and their ashes interred in tombs outside the city walls. Piranesi was fascinated by mortality and decay, yet his vast chamber is full of the living as well as the dead, and vegetation sprouts from every available crevice. By depicting figures in the upper galleries on a tiny scale the artist exaggerates the space, a theatrical trick used by Palladio in Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, in 1584, and imitated by designers from then on.

Title
Camera sepolcrale inventata a disegnata conforme al costume, e all' antica magnificenza degl' Imperatori Romani (Imaginary sepulcral chamber designed according to the fashion and ancient magnificence of the Roman Emperors ...)
Artist/creator
Production date
1743
Medium
etching
Dimensions
395 x 276 mm
Inscription
Piranesi F
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Dr Walter Auburn, 1982
Accession no
M1982/1/4/16
Other ID
003 Auburn Catalogue
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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