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Giovanni Battista Piranesi und seine Werkstatt: Zwei neu identifizierte Alben in Karlsruhe

English title Giovanni Battista Piranesi and his Workshop: Two newly identified Albums at Karlsruhe
Applicant Frank Christoph
Number 185525
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Istituto di storia e teoria dell’arte e dell’architettura (ISA) Accademia di architettura
Institution of higher education Università della Svizzera italiana - USI
Main discipline Visual arts and Art history
Start/End 01.11.2019 - 31.10.2022
Approved amount 151'690.00
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Keywords (5)

Archaeology; Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778); History of Collecting; Drawing Studies; Art History

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Prof. Dr. Christoph FrankIstituto di storia e teoria dell'arte e dell'architettura (ISA), Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana, Largo Bernasconi 2, CH - 6850 Mendrisio, Switzerland, http://www.isa.arc.usi.ch
Lay summary

Im Jahr 2014 ist in der Staatlichen Kunsthalle Karlsruhe eine spektakuläre Neubestimmung gelungen: Zwei Alben mit insgesamt 297 Zeichnungen können seither dem römischen Künstler, Architekten, Theoretiker, Antiquar und Antikenhändler Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) und vor allem seiner Werkstatt zugeordnet werden; bis dahin galten sie als Werke des Karlsruher Architekten Friedrich Weinbrenner (1766-1826). Diese Entdeckung eröffnet die Chance auf eine umfassende Neubewertung des künstlerischen Werkes von Piranesi, das im Fokus des seit 2018 geförderten Projektes steht: Der Fund umfasst die gesamte typologische Breite im zeichnerischen Werk Piranesis - von den frühen capricci bis zu den archäologischen Darstellungen des Spätwerks.

Von Anfang an zeichnete sich ab, dass die inhaltliche Breite des neu zugeordneten Bestandes geographisch weit über Karlsruhe hinausreichte, zumal sich zahlreiche Gegendrucke und Kopien von Karlsruher Blättern in den Nachlässen von Architekten des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts identifizieren liessen, die heute in internationalen Sammlungen bewahrt werden (London, Paris, New York, Besançon, Kopenhagen, los Angeles oder Dessau). Sie bezeugen die große internationale Verbreitung und den Einfluss von Piranesis Zeichnungen, der jetzt neu zu bewerten ist. Das interdisziplinäre Forschungsprojekt, an dem Kunsthistoriker und Restauratoren beteiligt sind, wird die komplexen Zusammenhänge offenlegen, in denen die Karlsruher Zeichnungen entstanden sind. Schlüsselfragen betreffen die Autorschaft Piranesis bzw. der Mitarbeiter seiner Werkstatt, Typus, Funktion und Technik der Zeichnungen, die Werkstattpraxis sowie die Benutzungsspuren und die Konservierung; darüber hinaus wird nach Piranesis Bedeutung für die zeitgenössische römische Graphik- und Buchproduktion gefragt, auch im Hinblick auf ihre weiträumige Verbreitung. Das methodisch innovative Forschungsprojekt wird erstmals die Karlsruher Alben in Piranesis Werk einbetten und deren Bedeutung für die europäische Kunstgeschichte sichtbar machen, die vor allem auch in der bislang nahezu unbekannten zeichnerischen Dissemination von Piranesis zu suchen ist.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 18.02.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
170303 Giovanni Battista Piranesi and his Workshop: Two newly identified Albums at Karlsruhe 01.01.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

In 2014, an altogether spectacular discovery was made at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in the South-West of Germany. Two albums containing 297 drawings, previously believed to be the work of the Neo-Classical architect Friedrich Weinbrenner (1766-1826) could be re-attributed and forensically connected with the Roman architect and draftsman Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78) as well as to some of his workshop collaborators, about whom relatively little had been known prior to this discovery. The evidence in support of an attribution to Piranesi’s workshop context (papers, techniques, watermarks, inscriptions and overall relationships with Piranesi’s published works) and moreover independently of the question of the attribution of individual sheets to Piranesi himself, can now be considered sufficient to securely uphold such a wide-ranging claim, first made in Georg Kabierske’s related article of 2015 (Kabierske 2015). What we are dealing with can from now on be securely introduced into the literature as the “Karlsruhe Piranesi Albums”.Since the 2014 identification and the start of the DFG-SNSF-D-A-CH project (100016E-170303) in Nov. 2016, substantial progress has been made by all the individual members of the research team, including, since January 2018, a second doctoral student, Bénédicte Maronnie. Furthermore, during this time numerous exchanges with nearly all leading specialists in the field, mostly on the occasion of numerous public lectures by members of the team and an international conference organized by the project and held at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in April 2018, have helped to shape our critical understanding of the two albums and their contents. Yet, their great originality and singular Piranesian contents required extending the investigation to a whole new complex of comparable albums in other European (and in some cases even American) collections, in order to assess the question of eighteenth-century workshop practice and the case of Giovanni Battista Piranesi in particular. An in-depth discussion and analysis of all the sheets contained in the albums resulted thus in the definition of various work groups and/or clusters. Those can be defined in terms of authorship, the unquestionable appurtenance of individual drawings to specific schemes, ranging from the church of Santa Maria del Priorato to the publication of the Vasi, candelabri, cippi… of 1778, to the various archaeological contexts or collections represented. It has thus become our focus to situate the Karlsruhe Piranesi Albums within an overarching narrative that moves well beyond the very first and very last folio of the Karlsruhe albums. We are thus in the process of arriving at a wider understanding of the workshop practice and material reality of such an eminent workshop as Piranesi’s at a crucial moment in art-historical scholarship that in our case prominently considers its procedural productive aspects. The renewed and much enlarged evidential footing for this project seems to justify such an approach and to merit such an endeavor also in an extension of funding time that will allow us to generate a comprehensive panorama of these Roman works in the midst of their European networks.
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