Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: column drawing by Piranesi

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Trajan column with two Dacian wars (approximate title), Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

Comics expert Scott McCloud has suggested that this kind of display (the physical carved versions that continue around the column) qualify as “comics”, i.e. pictures in sequence that tell a story.

[Via Bibliodyssey]


8 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: column drawing by Piranesi”

  1. Oh my goodness. Did he do the other side too?

  2. Piranesi: An amazing Italian artist.
    Learn every detail on his life here.
    Unfortunately only in German.
    His Antichità Romane of 1756, a four-volume work that won him admittance to the British Society of Antiquarians, includes maps of the ancient walls and aqueduct system and a thorough investigation of Roman burial customs.
    (Selfportrait for his Antichità Romane)

  3. This was quite a feat…but the bas relief itself was even a bigger one. Btw, I agree with Scott McCloud (and recommend his comic book Understanding Comics).

  4. The dictionary does mention the humor element in comics, though.

    What beautiful detail.

    1. Hence the name, from their earliest examples. However, in English the term has come to mean the art form in general (adventure comics and superhero comics are often missing the element of humor). In French, for example, they are “bandes dessinées” — strips of drawings. The fundamental description of the art form, however, could be reduced (again, as Scott McCloud has suggested) to “pictures in sequence that tell a story”.

  5. chris sheban Avatar
    chris sheban

    Are you kidding me?! I needed a nap after that.
    Can you imagine drawing the first grouping of figures at the top then
    looking down at what’s still ahead to do? Talk about a tour de force.
    Let me guess – he did this in an hour and a half. Wow. Remarkable.

  6. Piranesi was by no means the first to etch a detailed copy of the bas relief story on Trajan’s column. There had already been a steady demand from tourists for more than a hundred years by the time he got to it. But Piranesi developed the art of etching views of Rome and its antiquities for tourist consumption to an incredibly high level until, in the end, he wasn’t above inventing his own antiquities when his imagination outpaced reality.

  7. Thank you, Charley. 🙂