The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf



The discovery of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's final project occurred 28 May 2022, late that Saturday night when again I was rehearsing an imaginary interview, with Orhan Ayyüce elseplace conducting. "The erasure and re-etching of the Circus Maximus plan within the 'Pianta dell antico Foro Romano' clearly exhibits completeness and a job well done, whereas the erasure and re-etching of all the circus plans within the 'Ichnographia Campus Martius' exhibits incompleteness and a job somewhat poorly done, yet together, all these erased and re-etched circus plans point toward a work-in-progress interrupted by Piranesi's death . . . [and then it dawned on me] . . . hence the inadvertent manifestation of Piranesi's final project!"



Circus Maximus
first state


Circus Maximus
second state



Circus of Caligula and Nero
first state


Circus of Caligula and Nero
second state


As a title, "The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project" definitively précises all the research and thinking having been done to figure out why and when Piranesi erased and re-etched all the ancient Roman circus plans he had already drawn/etched and published. The trajectory of all the study and investigation, in one fell swoop, became obvious and clear. It was now time to collect all the essential imagery and commit the explanatory-scenarios-in-my-head to text.




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