Piranesi’s Grande Cheminée, virtually recreated for John Wilton-Ely

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This text presents a virtual reconstruction of an exceptional chimneypiece, made during the very last days of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s activity in the marble business. After its export to Sweden, the marble double frame (jambs and architraves) from which it was constituted were divided, and reused for two distinct chimneypieces, located in two different Royal residences. The origins of these pieces were forgotten, but through the series of documents presented in this article, could be rediscovered. The reconstruction was achieved in 3D. The data, acquired by means of photogrammetry, was used to build two models, which proved an exact fit when scaled and fitted together. The exceptional design of this object is underlined through a series of comparisons with other creations, either Piranesian in origin, or in derivation. The argument also considers the diverging sources of influence, Piranesian or ancient, of the ‘Grande Cheminée’s’ constituent parts. In conclusion, our reconstruction is substantiated further by the identification of the original project drawing, which reveals the artist’s initial intention to use the constituent parts of the Cheminée for the creation of his own final memorial.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGiovanni Battista Piranesi. Predecessori, contemporanei e successori
Subtitle of host publicationStudi in onore di John Wilton-Ely
EditorsFranceso Nevola
Place of PublicationRome
PublisherEdizione Quasar
ISBN (Print)978-88-7140-743-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameStudi sul Settecento Romano
ISSN (Print)1124-3910

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