Giovanni Battista Piranesi and his Workshop: Two newly identified Albums at Karlsruhe
In 2014, an altogether spectacular discovery was made at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in the South-West of Germany. Two albums containing 297 drawings, previously believed to be the work of the Neo-Classical architect Friedrich Weinbrenner (1766–1826) could be re-attributed and forensically connected with the Roman architect and draughtsman Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) as well as to some of his workshop collaborators, about whom relatively little had been known prior to this discovery. The evidence in support of an attribution to Piranesi’s workshop context (papers, techniques, watermarks, inscriptions and overall relationships with Piranesi’s published works) and moreover independently of the question of the attribution of individual sheets to Piranesi himself, can now be considered sufficient to securely uphold such a wide-ranging claim, first made in Georg Kabierske’s related article of 2015 (Kabierske 2015). What we are dealing with can from now on be securely introduced into the literature (and patrimonial register of Baden-Württemberg) as the “Karlsruhe Piranesi Albums”. The Albums are first of all “raw material” for any further investigation. Where do we stand after the initial two project years, after extensive investigations and project-related initiatives such as an international conference at Karlsruhe (April 2018) and two study days at the Avery and Morgan Libraries of New York, thus after having presented the find to nearly all international specialists of who happens to be the foremost if not unchallenged master of eighteenth-century Rome, Giovanni Battista Piranesi?