These etchings by the Italian etcher, archaeologist, designer, theorist, and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 – 1778), known as grotteschi, may be viewed as the artist’s personal reflections on human mortality and the continuity of culture, as poetically interpreted through the monuments of Imperial Rome. Etched and published by Piranesi in Rome, probably in 1747–48, the second edition was issued several times from 1759 until the early 1770’s. Emerging here and there from the ruins are figures who could be antique sculptures, Roman ancestors or contemporary people joining in the continuity of life through the generations.

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