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New research pieces together Piranesi’s books — from the backs of drawings

Author: Amanda Skofstad

While early modern artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi has been principally known for his drawings and etchings of ancient Rome, new research from Heather Hyde Minor, a Notre Dame professor of art history, reinterprets Piranesi’s artistic oeuvre by flipping the works over and reading what is written on the backs. Minor’s Piranesi Unbound, examines nearly 200 of Piranesi’s engravings and drawings. The research, recuperative in method, serves as a biography of Piranesi’s books, bringing text and image together to reveal a learned mind alive with biting wit and unflinching big-picture questions.

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