Set in Stone

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PiranesiCampo Marzio – Giovanni Battista Piranesi 1762

This is one of my favourite architectural drawings of all time. It was etched by the renowned Piranesi no less, and it depicts a slice of Rome, the city he dedicated many years to documenting. He was fascinated by the architecture of antiquity, the grandeur of the past, and in particular its beauty in ruinous decay.

In a way Piranesi was like a storyteller, painting the picture of an overlooked greatness of an unrivaled past, shining the spotlight on melancholic structures, in awe of the successes of a civilisation that was now over. Perhaps he saw an opportunity for his work to speak as a metaphor; a fading memory of what society had devolved from, the best was over and the skill and care that he offered in his own work could only be found in the masters of the past.

This feeling of nostalgia for…

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