The Library’s new exhibition, Rome: Piranesi’s Vision, is now showing in the Keith Murdoch Gallery and is nothing short of splendid. Curated by Dr Colin Holden, it brings together material from a number of collections including the University of Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria and (of course) the State Library of Victoria.
This beautiful book accompanies the exhibition, and in it Colin manages to chart not just the life and work of Piranesi, but also his extraordinary influence on a range of artists down the years. He also takes us (and Piranesi himself) on another grand tour as he unravels the story of how these works crossed the ocean in the 19th century to work their magic here in Australia; something they continue to do through the work of artists such as Rick Amor, Angela Cavalieri and Bill Henson, to name just a few.
Grand tour : the lure of Italy in the eighteenth century: edited by Andrew Wilton and Ilaria Bignamini
The origins of the Grand Tour are generally traced back to the late 17th century, but it arguably reached its peak in the 18th century when the spirit of the Enlightenment made it all but compulsory for the well-heeled to immerse themselves in the fruits of classical and Renaissance culture, as exemplified by the great cities of France and Italy. This lovely book traces the influence travels to Italy had on this newly created and highly visible group of wealthy sightseers, as well as examining the response the locals had to this (mainly) benign invasion.
Of course Rome was a destination point long before the age of the Grand Tour. Author Matthew Sturgis here investigates what it was that brought people to the city throughout history, as well as examining the many and varied ways in which they responded to its various, and varying, attractions.
A large selection of books on Piranesi and Rome can be found on display in our Information Centre
The Grand Tour, Australian style, from our Picture Collection