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Piranesi in Madrid

The Dream of the Sublime


Though the author of a single building, Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s influence on architecture has not waned since he lived in the 18th century. Now, ahead of next year’s celebration of the Italian artist’s third centenary, the National Library of Spain (BNE) is hosting through 22 September an extraordinary show that features a total of 285 works of his, complemented by the publication of an updated inventory and catalogue raisonné of all the Piranesis safeguarded in the Madrid institution: no less than 2,400 etchings reproduced in books and loose prints, not to mention some of the few drawings by Piranesi that have managed to come down to our days.

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