A collection of etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, one of the greatest masters of the art of neoclassical etching, will be on exhibit at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa beginning Monday. The series includes views of Roman architecture and ruins, illustrating various periods of Piranesi’s progress as an artist.
IHCC Art Professor Mark McWhorter said Piranesi, who lived from 1720-78, was a superb technician whose work extended the possibilities of printmaking in etching beyond anything achieved by his contemporaries. In his images, Piranesi imposed new proportions on the real world in which the people were reduced to little figures, making the grandness of the Roman facades and the elevations of the building interiors startling.
The collection includes earlier views of Rome in which light blends buildings with backgrounds of city landscapes. Later works include etchings in which single buildings loom dark against the sky. Piranesi’s final works include bird’s eye panoramic views that Piranesi constructed from notes made by studying perspectives from the ground and also by climbing walls for a higher point of view.
The exhibit comes to the Indian Hills Art Gallery through funds provided by the Gilmore Grubbs Charitable Trust and was curated by Blair-Murrah Exhibitions of Sibley, Mo. The show will close on Feb. 14.
The Indian Hills Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 4:30-9 p.m. It is located in the library on the Ottumwa campus of Indian Hills Community College at 525 Grandview Ave.