Italy | Perspectives on Piranesi

This drawing course will explore the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the engraver widely known for his picturesque illustrations of eighteenth-century Rome, and his essential contribution to our contemporary understanding of antiquity.

This course has reached capacity. Please indicate in the application if you would like to be added to the waitlist.


Global Summer Studies
  • Rome, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Paestum, Italy
Summer 2024

Course Dates: Jun 3, 2024 — Jun 25, 2024

Open to RISD students, Brown University students, non-RISD students

2.5 GPA required. Non-RISD participants see eligibility requirements below.

  • Drawing
  • Illustration
  • Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Academic Credits
  • Illustration
  • Landscape Architecture
Course Numbers
  • INTAR/ILLUS-1520-01

Included tuition, accommodation, studio space, in-country transportation, field trips, entrance fees, some group meals and international travel health insurance.

Italy: See Naples and Die
Paestum, Italy 2008
Italy | Perspectives on Piranesi 2022
Italy | Perspectives on Piranesi 2022

About this Travel Course

Course Description

This is an outdoor sketchbook drawing intensive guided and inspired by the contributions of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. The impact of the venetian engraver, widely known for his picturesque illustrations of eighteenth-century Rome and his fantastical views of imaginary architecture, is still palpable in guiding our preconceptions of the Roman world, its cannon of architecture and art, and shapes our recollections of the Eternal City. This course will retrace his steps through frequent visits to historical locations and garner new perspectives on Piranesi from our personal experiences, literally drawing from his point of view.

Aside from his facility as a printmaker and one of the most interesting enlightenment figures working in Rome in the 18th century, Giovanni Battista Piranesi was also a skilled architect, surveyor, curator, antiquarian, urbanist and archaeologist, creating one of the most fully visualized records of roman antiquities in his day. His associations with engineers, scenographers, historians, and cartographers unquestionably shaped his imagination and
helped to posit a theoretical framework of the Eternal City around the ideas of pictorial space and perspective. Through the proliferation of his images and the vast catalog of his engravings, the “art and mind” of Piranesi continues to inspire the visits of artists and tourists to Rome, central to the scholarly pursuits of the Grand Tour which was at the forefront of Piranesi’s life.

This course will provide both a site-specific historical overview of the ancient city as well as a practicum in the image-making techniques used by Piranesi. Demonstrations, walking tours and visits to archives and collections, will complement the student’s own discoveries while developing a personal sketchbook practice in the intensive three-week course.

Our studio environment is predominantly outdoors in both urban and rural environments under the intense heat of the Roman summer. Students should be prepared for extended periods outdoor working and walking or hiking to reach drawing sites.

    Course Objectives

      • Understand the complexities of the Eternal City through the history of an equally complex figure whose name is synonymous with Rome of the 18th century – understand Piranesi’s continued relevance, scholarship, and his legacy as an ambassador to art and design students in Rome within his numerous practices.
      • Produce original work from Piranesi’s techniques of field drawing and building survey, vanishing point perspective, and other approaches of archaeological illustration and the drawing of cities and landscapes through “vedute.”
      • Visit and draw streetscapes, landscapes, and sites of antiquity through the eyes of Piranesi –visit and study works from the archives, museums and archeological sites that are intrinsically linked to the life and work of Piranesi.
      • Participate in workshops and interpret assigned readings with experts on the work of Piranesi, the history of 18th c. image-making, urbanism, architecture, archaeology, cartography and the cultural geographies of the cities we will visit
      • Comprehended Piranesi’s legacy on the role of “tourism” and dismantle the most superficial perceptions of Piranesi’s body of work and the places he depicted.


    To participate in RISD Global Summer Studies, all students are required to stay in RISD- provided housing for the duration of the course.


    RISD Students

    If your current cumulative GPA is 2.5 or above, you are eligible for registration. If your current cumulative GPA is lower than 2.5, you must first contact the Registrar at to seek exception to this academic policy.

    Non-RISD Participants

    If you are a college student currently enrolled in another art/design college or institution around the world, or a professional practicing in the field, you are eligible for registration. We will collect a recommendation/support form from your institution/workplace.

    In order to register for RISD Global summer studies, you are expected to have a high level of English (speech, writing, and comprehension) as all coursework and critique is delivered in English.

    Attendance Policy

    Global Summer Studies are three weeks long and take place in June/July, and you are required to attend all program activities scheduled during the travel course. RISD Global Summer Studies comply with RISD class attendance policy. In case of unexcused or multiple absences, you may be removed from the course, given a grade of “W" (withdrawal) or a grade of “F” (fail).

    Withdrawal Policy

    Requesting to withdraw from a RISD off-campus global learning program, including RISD Global Summer Studies, prior to the start of the course is highly discouraged and requires a formal process outlined in the RISD course withdrawal policy. It is not possible for a student to drop a RISD Global Summer Studies travel course via the standard Add/Drop process after it has commenced. In the case of unforeseen and extenuating circumstances (and only after students have spoken with the faculty lead and RISD Global for approval to withdraw from the program), students should be aware that no refund will be issued.

    More Info

    In order to reserve a seat, a non-refundable deposit of $500 is required at the time of application submittal. Students who apply between February 1, 2024, and March 1, 2024, will have until March 1, 2024, to submit full payment. Student who apply between March 2, 2024, and the application deadline, March 15, 2024, will make full payment within 24 hours of the application being submitted. Students that fail to make full payment by their deadline will forfeit their $500 deposit and their seat in the course.

    All RISD students enrolled in RISD and other full degree schools/universities are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in Global Summer Studies. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required for all RISD students. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course.

    In cases where summer travel courses and studios do not reach full capacity, the course may be canceled after the last day of registration. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Global Summer Studies courses until the course is confirmed.

    Apply to Global Summer Studies

    The deadline for Global Summer Studies 2024 has now passed.

    View details
    Office bw resized

    1:1 Advising Session

    Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

    Schedule an Appointment


    No upcoming events for this program at this time.


    No announcements for this program.