A fictional autobiography of the famed eighteenth-century Italian engraver Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Piranesi's Dream draws from fact to imagine the embittered, eccentric, yet fantastically creative mind of this prolific artist. Piranesi, however, is not simply recreated in his time; instead, he travels throughout time and throughout the world, musing over art and aesthetics, attacking his enemies, and ruminating over his thwarted dream of becoming an architect. Appearing in contemporary Australia, in ancient Egypt, and even in Vancouver, Piranesi gives full reign to his dreams and his meditations. He envisions--posthumously--the construction of a great city in the Australian desert. He attacks his contemporary, the critic Johannes Winckelmann, with intense hatred, condemning his admiration of classical Greek architecture. Forced to work as an engraver--the medium in which he created the dungeon and prison scenes he is best known for today--Piranesi labors, embittered and frustrated, always yearning to fulfill himself as an architect. Piranesi's Dream is the story of an artist and of a visionary of ages past and present. In telling Piranesi's story, Kopf has written not only a fictional autobiography but a compelling psychological novel. As Gunter Grass has observed, "Kopf is a born storyteller."
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Published July 1, 2000
by George Braziller.
Literature & Fiction.