GIOVANNI BATTISTA PIRA
Born in Mojano near Mestre in 1720, Piranesi was educated by his father, a stonemason, and by his uncle, an architect and engineer. On visiting Rome for the first time in 1740, he was captivated by the classical ruins, which became a lifelong inspiration. Guiseppe Vasi and Felice Polanzani instructed Piranesi in the art of etching during his first stay in Rome, where he settled permanently in 1745.
He developed and perfected his etching techniques, and published the renowned series of volumes containing his investigations and reconstructions of practically all the famous buildings and antiquities of Rome. His major work as an architect was the rebuilding of Santa Maria Aventina in 1764. Piranesi's rich, romantic prints became famous throughout Europe, and his workshop was the Mecca of architects, artists and connoisseurs. His work embodies the refinement of neo-classical style, and his etchings are collectors' favourites.