Giovanni Piranesi – Artwork & Bio of the Italian Painter

Giovanni Piranesi was an Italian Painter born on 4 October 1720 in Venice, Italy. Piranesi received his first art education as an apprentice under his uncle, Matteo Lucchesi, who was an architect. Afterward, Giovanni traveled to Rome and worked as Marco Foscarini’s draftsman. During this period, he studied under Giuseppe Vasi, who taught him the rudiments of etching and engraving.

Piranesi settled permanently in Rome in the mid-1740s, opening a workshop and then a printing house. Giovanni’s reputation grew due to his mastery of the medium and the accuracy of his depictions. In 1764, Cardinal Rezzonico commissioned Piranesi to restore the Santa Maria del Priorato church on Aventine Hill – his only architectural work. A decade before he died on 9 November 1778 in Rome, Piranesi became a Knight of the Golden Spur.

What was Giovanni Piranesi Known For?

Giovanni Piranesi was known for painting Roman monuments, antiquities, and architecture from the Classical and Postclassical eras. Piranesi’s prior knowledge and involvement in architectural design helped him make distinct etchings that showcased accurate details and excellent draughtsmanship. Piranesi combined contrasts of shadow and light with rich textures and imaginative creativity to create masterpieces.

Who was Giovanni Piranesi Influenced By?

Giuseppe Vasi and Matteo Lucchesi influenced Piranesi’s style and subject matter. Giovanni apprenticed under Lucchesi and Vasi, an architect and artist, respectively. Under Lucchesi, Giovanni learned firsthand about architecture, while Vasi introduced him to the etchings of Rome, its monuments, and its environs.

What Art Movement was Giovanni Piranesi Associated With?

Giovanni Piranesi was associated with the Neoclassical art movement. Piranesi was pivotal to the development of the Neoclassical movement through his depictions of Roman buildings and monuments.

Giovanni Piranesi Artwork

Giovanni Piranesi created over two thousand works in his career. Below are some of them

Forum of Augustus


Temple of Pola in Istria



Amphitheater of Verona


S. Giovanni in Laterano. Interior



The Arch of Titus


The Drawbridge



The Giant Wheel



The Man on the Rack


The Pantheon Exterior


The Smaller Harbor, called the Porto di Ripetta



Title-page for the ‘Views of Rome’ comprising a stone in the background inscribed with the title, a classical vase and fragments of columns in the foreground


View of the Flavian Amphitheatre



View of the Piazza del Popolo



View of the Temple of Jupiter the Thunderer



View through the Herculaneum Gate, Pompeii


All Giovanni Piranesi Artwork on Artchive

Artwork Name Year Medium
The Drawbridge 1761 etching
The Round Tower 1761 etching
The Well 1761 etching
Title Plate 1761 etching
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