Piranesi Drawings

Sarah Vowles, Hugo Chapman

A new exploration of Piranesi’s work as a draftsman, published to coincide with an exhibition at the British Museum.

The Venetian-born artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) is best known for his dramatic etchings of the architecture and antiquities of his adopted home city of Rome and for his extraordinary flights of spatial fancy, such as Le Carceri (“Prisons”).

Published to coincide with an exhibition at the British Museum, this volume explores Piranesi’s celebrated skill as a draftsman. While many studies are concerned with Piranesi’s activities as a printmaker, this beautifully illustrated book examines new dimensions of his art by focusing on his drawings. Curator and author Sarah Vowles establishes a clear relationship between his drawings and prints, discusses the involvement of studio hands in his late works, and examines how his style as a draftsman evolved.

Piranesi Drawings reveals the quality and lasting impact of the pen and chalk studies by a remarkably talented draftsman, as demonstrated by the superb collection at the British Museum.


Sarah Vowles


Sarah Vowles is the Hamish Swanston Curator of Italian and French Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

Hugo Chapman

Introduction By

Hugo Chapman is the Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.