Piranesi and the Temples of Paestum: Drawings from Sir John Soane’s Museum
In 1777, the great Italian draftsman, etcher and antiquarian Giovanni Battista Piranesi visited the haunting and majestic archaeological site of Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno south of Naples. He produced a series of monumental drawings recording the three Doric temples, then known as the Basilica, the Temple of Neptune, and the Temple of Ceres, in preparation for a set of etchings, Différents vues de Pesto. Piranesi died shortly after having received the papal imprimatur in 1778, but the set was completed by his son, Francesco, and published posthumously in the same year. In 1817, the English architect Sir John Soane, who had met Piranesi in Rome shortly before the artist’s death, acquired fifteen of Piranesi’s seventeen surviving Paestum drawings. Preserved at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, the drawings have only recently been restored and will be shown in the United States for the first time.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Family Foundation.
Organized by Sir John Soane's Museum, London, with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.