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Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 - 1778), Italian

Veduta della Basilica di S. Paolo fuor della mura

(St. Paul's Outside the Walls), from Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome), 1748

Etching and Engraving

Collection of La Salle University Art Museum, 72-G-366

Giovanni Battista Piranesi incorporates the use of perspective in his 18th century etching of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. Prints such as this and others are utilized in MTH 150 to demonstrate an effective expression of a mathematical concept. In the course, students are exposed to a number of mathematical concepts that are then connected to real world applications.

Beginning during the Renaissance and continuing through today, artists have strived to create realistic scenes. The use of perspective can be somewhat attributed to the fact that many of the Renaissance painters also were employed as engineers and architects. In fact, Piranesi worked as a draftsman, engraver and archaeologist.

Perspective, when used in art, can be defined as the viewpoint of the artist and the audience. Piranesi’s work leads the viewer to see the building as if he/she were actually there. The use of parallel lines that draw attention towards the lower left of the print give the viewer a sense of regression into a real landscape.

Daniel Luchay, M.A., M.S.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Mathematics

Expanded Literacies

  • 3. Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning

Effective Expression

  • 9. Creative and Artistic Expression

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Collection of La Salle University Art Museum;