Diverse Ways of Ornamenting Chimneypieces


Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Diverse maniere d’adornare i cammini ed ogni altra parte degli edifizi: desunte dall’architettura Egizia, Etrusca, e Greca con un Ragionamento Apologetico in difesa dell’Architettura Egizia, e Toscana, opera del Cavaliere Giambattista Piranesi Architetto (Diverse Ways of Ornamenting Chimneypieces and All Other Parts of Houses Taken from Egyptian, Etruscan, and Grecian Architecture with an Apologia in Defense of the Egyptian and Tuscan Architecture, the Work of Cavaliere Giambattista Piranesi)(Roma: Nella Stamperia di Generoso Salomoni, 1769). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Rm 2-15-G


Fifty-six of the sixty-nine plates in Piranesi’s Diverse maniere d’adornare… are devoted to fireplace designs. Philip Hofer, former Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts at Harvard University, described the book as “a lamentably poor seller.” Arthur Samuel reviewed the work in his 1910 book Piranesi, writing “Over-decoration, meaningless ornament, lack of self-restraint, unpleasing design, grotesque without being useful or interesting, are all crowded into schemes which it would be nearly impossible to reproduce.” (GA 2009-0974N)


For a more positive reading of the images, see William Rieder, “Piranesi’s Diverse Maniere,” in The Burlington Magazine 115, no. 842 (May 1973): 308-17 (available online).


Plates variously numbered, Princeton’s copy is imperfect with some plates wanting.