Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Lydia Mattice Brandt


This thesis aims to elucidate points that remain problematic in the scholarship of the imaginary prisons and to position Carceri d’Invenzione embedded in Piranesi’s evolving line of works. My focus was on Piranesi’s intellectual aspirations for the illustrations and the way in which they reflect Piranesi’s theoretical and philosophical inclinations. I was interested in finding a proper correlation between the illustrations of imaginary prisons and the artist’s intellectual development with the objective to provide the work with a coherent view in tandem with Piranesi’s modus operandi. I associated the imagery of the imaginary prisons and Piranesi’s references to specific places and historical and contemporary events in the illustrations to specific eighteenth-century debates encompassing taste, law, and the Greco-Roman controversy.