Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) deftly used engravings and texts to nourish the architectural debate of the Enlightenment century. The main objective of this research is to analyse how this architect used the ruins of classical antiquity as instruments to develop his critical reflections, focusing on the work Parere sull`architettura (1765); this publication in the form of a fictitious dialogue contrasts rigorism with the architectural creative freedom. The Parere is related to other works of Piranesi that will be selected to interpose the analysis here intended. Therefore, a substantial documentary base is available in Brazil: the Piranesi collection of the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library at Rio de Janeiro). From the reading of the Parere the following questions can be analysed: 1 the influence of Piranesi in linking the architectural debate to the archaeological exploration, verifying the historicization of classical antiquity, the foundations of a new language, the search for rational principles and the role of the ornament in architecture; 2 the repercussion of Piranesi on the architectural historiography developed from the twentieth century having been taken up by theorists such as R. Wittkower, J. Rykwert and M. Tafuri; 3 the diffusion of the Piranesi`s works enhanced by the Grand Tour phenomenon to situate the trajectory of the Biblioteca Nacional`s collection. To complete the documentary sources it is intended to visit other institutions as the Istituto Centrale Per la Grafica (Rome) where most of the original Piranesi`s chalcography is located. This research is based on the need to develop a more detailed investigation in Brazil about the work of this influential thinker and critic of architecture whose relevance is not limited to the eighteenth century. Considering that in 2020 will be celebrated the 300 years of Piranesi`s birth, it intends to contribute to insert the national academic context to the international debates through paper publications.
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