Piranesi and the Modern Age

In the nineteenth century, the Italian etcher, architect and archaeologist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) was if not entirely forgotten, at least vastly underrated. The gradual reintroduction of Piranesi to modern culture was significant to the extent that this book´s effort to chart it offers nothing less than an alternative history of the last century. In the modern era’s insistent effort to formulate the new, the impossible, the limitless and the contradictory – to challenge the very boundaries of expression – Piranesi provided a visual vocabulary. 

In Piranesi and the Modern Age Victor Plahte Tschudi investigates the recurrences of Piranesi in the fields of literature, photography, art, film and architecture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It makes the audacious claim that Piranesi not only is ingrained in the modern age, in a manner hitherto overlooked, but that the formulation of the modern as such – in each of these fields – depended on the rediscovery, or rather series of rediscoveries, of Piranesi from 1900 until today. 

The book is richly illustrated and includes hitherto unpublished material from various archives and architectural offices. It is designed by Studio Mathias Clottu for the MIT Press: https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262047173/piranesi-and-the-modern-age/


Originally posted Aug 24, 2022.

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