Perspective as an artistic tool of composition in the  engravings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Elena Chernaya


This study is devoted to the recreation of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s compositional thinking. The study is based on analyses of the composition of his engravings depicting architecture and space. Here Piranesi’s compositional solutions for his graphic works are compared to his predecessors and contemporaries’ beautiful paintings carrying the same motif. In order to show that the perspective was one of the artistic tools for him, the article presents the comparative analysis of one of Piranesi’s engravings (“View of Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura” from the series of “Views of Rome”) with a perspective model made with the help of a SketchUp software, pictures of layouts and perspective views made with the help of an architect method (the method of the descriptive geometry).
The author builds his point of view on the fact that the plane comprises only such structural elements of the existing composition, which clearly reveal its space-dimensional features when compared with each other. To confirm this, the author proposes an approach implying that all the information fixed at the plane is considered to be a professional communicative means necessary for formation of space-dimensional representations in a human mind about a composition in the overall system of the drawing or the image.
In order to confirm this hypothesis, the author carried out an analysis of the Pantheon drawings made by Andrea Palladio di Pietro and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Due to the fact that the composition information on the object is broken into pieces and is represented by the system of interrelated orthographic views on the architectural design (on the drawing), in the article we tried to find out the implied logic and the pattern of information disclosure by Giovanni Battista Piranesi with the help of projection views.


compositional thinking, engraving, perspective, model, drawing, orthographic view, computer model, image

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