So lately, I’ve had art on the brain (which you can probably tell from some of my recent posts). I’ve spent hours drooling over modern and classic works in a few of my local museums. I’ve also pulled most of my art books off the shelves and have them scattered around the house from frequent perusing.
Yesterday, I ran across some of Piranesi’s (1720-1778) awe inspiring architectural etchings. His work is so detailed you can get lost in it for hours. I got so inspired I’m now on the hunt for an affordable print of his work for my office.
I thought I might share some ways to use Piranesi's and other artists and architect’s architectural drawings in your own home so you can enjoy them often.
Architectural prints can depict a wide array of subjects from churches to villas, public and private buildings as well as architectural details such as columns and friezes. Architectural drawings date back hundreds of years and span continents as well as stylistic eras. Collecting antique architectural prints can be expensive but there are later prints and copies that make it possible to decorate with these prints on any budget.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an Italian artist, created beautiful drawings of Roman ruins throughout Italy. His works are the pinnacle of architectural prints and are highly sought after. Because they are so desirable, many later copies and modern reproductions can be found both framed and unframed.
Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium by Frank Lloyd Wright
Collecting and decorating with architectural prints should reflect your own unique taste. If you have an older home or a mid-century modern home, collect prints depicting similar houses and designs to your own. Craftsman homes could display the work of Frank Lloyd Wright while modern homes might have a wall of Bauhaus prints, the beginning of the modern movement in design and architecture.
University Campus Piranesi
Floor plans of famous buildings are another collectible area of architectural prints. There are so many areas and options. Frame your prints in simple mats and gallery frames that coordinate with other wood features in your room like wood flooring. Or frame them in elaborate gold leaf frames if you have more traditional style. Both the frame and mat style should reflect your taste and fit in with the style of décor in the room in which the prints will hang.
Another way to enjoy architectural prints is through art books (my personal favorite). Take a look at some of the books I found available on Amazon.
Piranesi is arguably one of the greatest artists of architecture - of spaces both real and imagined. From the Veduti di Roma to the Carceri this is a collection of the work of the most famous copper engraver of the 18th century.
Architect’s Drawings: A selection of sketches by worldfamous architects through history by Kendra Schank Smith
"The sketch is a window into the architects mind. As creative designers, architects are interested in how other architects, particularly successful ones, think through the use of drawings to approach their work. Historically designers have sought inspiration for their own work through an insight into the minds and workings of people they often regard as geniuses."