Friday, November 24, 2006

Strange facinations...

You may just want to skip over this posting. Really. I'm giving you ample warning that it does not involve foreign travel, hot women in corsets of fighting off ninjas. This post is about an obscure 18th century Italian engraver.

Half Price book is a kick ass store. And when we were last there dumping off some old video games and books I picked up a two books dirt cheap. One was 'How to build a Gazeebo' and the other was called 'Piranesi - The Etchings'. I had no idea who Giovanni Battista Piranesi was but one look at the images in the book and I had to have it. Page after page of wonderful etchings of Roman Ruins, Tombs, monuments, temples, theaters and more. The book is in three languages with a short section on Piranesi's life and work in the 1700's. You can cut to the chase and breeze through his wiki page.

Some of his coolest work were his 'prisons'. Massive spaces with soaring vaulted ceilings, chains, raised walkways to nowhere and ancient gears. My biggest regret is that the images in the book are rather small and much of the detail is lost. Luckily a Japansese university has a website where you can zoom into his images and well as see modern photos of some of the places Piranesi drew. What amazed me was the number of locations that I had never heard of or seen before. A great deal of these places must surely have fallen victem to the modern city of Rome but I intend to look into some of the more interresting tombs using the internets. I'm hoping to get a book with larger versions of his work or maybe a few prints but they aren't cheep.

I have no idea why some things grab my attention so suddenly and firmly. I spend two weeks with my nose buried in a book about personal letter written in the Elizibethan era. Facinating stuff which I may have to write about in the future. And now, I must go, I think I hear ninja's in my laundry room.

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