A rare collection of drawings of Ancient Greek temples in Paestum by 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi is on show at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.
Called ‘Piranesi’s Paestum: Master Drawings Uncovered’, the show features preparatory drawings by Piranesi that he produced for his last great graphic project ‘Différentes vues de Pesto’ (Different Views of Pesto) published posthumously in 1778. For the first time, the powerful drawings are shown together in a focused exhibition that examines them as great works of art in their own right that also revolutionised architects’ and artists’ understanding of early Greek Classical architecture.
Piranesi visited the site in 1777 and his drawings were intended for a set of engravings. They depict views of the three Doric temples in the former Greek colony of Paestum, located on a plateau near the coast of the Gulf of Salerno. The drawings are very close to the finished prints and are accomplished examples of Piranesi’s topographical observation.
The exhibition runs until 18 May. It will tour to the Tchoban Foundation, Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin from 4 June to 31 August 2013, and then to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York from 23 January to 17 May 2015.