Fantastical vision | Arts & Culture

Fantastical vision

Fantastical vision

By Keith Bretzius

“The Piranesi Variations – From Venice to Ann Arbor” is on exhibit at the Taubman College Liberty Research Annex Gallery through March 3. The gallery is located at 305 W. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor.

“The Piranesi Variations” is a project for developed by the Yale School of Architecture for the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice. The project, developed by Professor Peter Eisenmann and his students, provides a new dimension to a landmark work by 18th-century architect, engraver, and mapmaker, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778).

Eisenman’s students contributed historical analysis for three contemporary interpretations of Piranesi’s drawing – one from Eisenman’s own New York office, Eisenman Architects; a second from the architecture critic Jeffrey Kipnis of Ohio State University; and a third from architect Pier Vittorio Aureli of the Belgian office DOGMA. With access to Piranesi’s original folio, housed in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Eisenman’s students “re-invented” Piranesi’s Rome as a detailed gold-painted 3D-printed model at the scale of the original etching – the first of its kind.

The project focuses on Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 1762 “Campo Marzio dell’antica Roma,” a folio of six etchings that depict his fantastical vision of what ancient Rome might have looked like, derived from years of archaeological and architectural research.

“The Piranesi Variations” is organized by the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven: in collaboration with Eisenman Architects, New York; DOGMA Architects, Brussels; and Jeffrey Kipnis, Jose Oubrerie, and Stephen Turk of The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, Columbus. “The Project of Campo Marzio” (Yale School of Architecture) is supported in part by Marshall Ruben and Carolyn Greenspan. “A Field of Diagrams” (Eisenman Architects) is supported in part by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. “The Piranesi Variations” was originally developed by Eisenman Architects as an invited participant in the 13th Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2012. The exhibition at Taubman College is generously supported by The Guido A. Binda Lecture and Exhibition Fund.

tWith access to Piranesi’s original folio, housed in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Eisenman’s students “re-invented” Piranesi’s Rome as a detailed gold-painted 3D-printed model at the scale of the original etching — the first of its kind.

Titled “The Piranesi Variations,” this multipart endeavor focuses on Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 1762 “Campo Marzio dell’antica Roma,” a folio of six etchings that depict his fantastical vision of what ancient Rome might have looked like, derived from years of archaeological and architectural research.

Keith Bretzius is communications director at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.