Vol. 15 No. 3 (2018): Is sustainability out, resilience in?

Piranesi's arguments in the Carceri

Fatma İpek Ek
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Yaşar University, İzmir, Turkey

Published 2018-11-19


  • Carceri series,
  • Eighteenth century discussions,
  • Giovanni Battista Piranesi,
  • Postromanticist interpretation,
  • Romanticist perception

How to Cite

İpek Ek, F. (2018). Piranesi’s arguments in the Carceri. A|Z ITU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, 15(3), 29–39. https://doi.org/10.5505/itujfa.2018.21347


Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) is an important Italian architect with his seminal theses in the debates on the ‘origins of architecture' and ‘aesthetics'. He is numbered foremost among the founders of modern archaeology. But Piranesi was misinterpreted both in his day and posthumously. One of the most important vectors of approach yielding misinterpretation of Piranesi derived from the phenomenon comprising the early nineteenth-century Romanticist reception of Piranesi's character and work. Therefore, the present study firstly demonstrates that such observations derive not from an investigation of the work itself, nor from an appraisal of the historical context, but owe to the long-standing view in western culture that identifies the creator's ethos with the work and interprets the work so as to cohere with that pre-constructed ethos. Thus the paper aims at offering a new perspective to be adopted while examining Piranesi's works. This perspective lies within the very scope of understanding the reasons of the misinterpretations, the post-Romanticist perception of the ‘artist', and Piranesi's main arguments on the aesthetics, origins of architecture, and law.