Diverse Maniere: Piranesi as Designer

Sir John Soane's Museum

7 March – 31 May 2014

Exploring the relationship between Sir John Soane and the great Italian printmaker, antiquarian and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

Large-scale 3D print sculptures reproduce designs visualised by Piranesi​ in the publications Diverse Maniere d’Adornare i Cammini and Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, but which were never realised during his lifetime.

Working with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and design studio Factum Arte, the pieces have been produced using specialist modelling and printing technologies and include bronze tripods, porphyry altars, gilt chairs, shell-shaped silver coffee pots and candelabra. These are shown alongside the Piranesi prints upon which the designers have based their creations. ​

Also on display are a selection of rarely seen drawings from the Soane Office, which illustrate how Sir John Soane looked to Piranesi for inspiration.

Having met in 1778 during Soane's educational Grand Tour of Italy, he was greatly impressed by Piranesi and credited him as the major influence behind the architecture of No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Don't miss

Arrangements which were once seen in Piranesi's atelier in the Palazzo Tomati, are recreated in the gallery. Instead of the antiquities which decorated Piranesi's space, Factum Arte have installed fragments of 3-D prints that explore the form and material of the objects. There is also a chance to explore how Piranesi's display in the Palazzo influenced the way Soane arranged objects within his own house/ museum.

Venue information

Opening times

Weds – Sun, 10am – 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Open bank holidays

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