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ID number:  BIRBI-2007.3
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Piranesi, Giovanni Battista
Title / Object name:  The Grand Piazza, Plate IV from 'The Prisons (Carceri)'
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Rome
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  1773
Materials:  Etching with engraving, second state, third edition
Measurements:  Plate: 545 x 416 mm; mount: 830 x 690 mm
BIRBI-2007.3.jpg

Piranesi’s set of architectural fantasies, The Prisons, were first published in 1745, but he extensively reworked the plates before reissuing them in the 1760s. This transformed the architectural, stage-like designs into a dramatic world of gloom and horror. Some of the plates feature instruments of torture, but here elements such as the spikes, the wheel and the chains create a more subtle image of terror, enhanced by the dramatic tonal contrasts employed by the great printmaker. The set of Prisons eventually comprised sixteen prints.

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