Souvenirs of Ruin: Piranesi and the Birth of Western Tourism

240 West High Street,
Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 245-1711
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Italian artist, archaeologist, and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) combined his multi-disciplinary interests to produce dramatic depictions of Roman temples, aqueducts, monuments, and ruins. In the eighteenth century, Piranesi’s prints often inspired travelers to embark on the Grand Tour through Europe. Some tourists then brought home an engraving by Piranesi to commemorate their experiences among these newly excavated sites. Other travelers, such as Commodore Jesse Duncan Elliott (1782-1845), a former Dickinson College Trustee and resident of Carlisle, acquired eclectic collections of antique fragments during their Mediterranean travels.

Curated by Dickinson student Emily Angelucci ’24, this exhibition features a wide selection of Piranesi’s romanticized perspectives of Roman ruins alongside Elliot’s artifacts, which include pieces of the Parthenon, sarcophagi, and statuary. Seen in dialogue with Elliot’s antiquities, Piranesi’s prints demonstrate the Grand Tourists’ shared desire for tangible connections to the ancient world. 

Opening Reception: November 10, 5 pm to 7 pm.

Lunch and Learn Gallery Talk with student curator Emily Angelucci ‘24: November 16, 12 pm to 1:15 pm