Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Architectural Complex. Verso: sketch of colonnade
ca. 1747-1750
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, on laid paper; verso: black chalk.
10 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches (258 x 181 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

The oblique perspective from which these buildings are depicted, the foreground cut by a balcony that leaves the viewer nowhere to stand, and even the heavy iron rings held by the lion heads relate to the architectural vocabulary of the Carceri, which Piranesi was conceiving around the same time that he executed this drawing. The dense washes and energetic lines are also typical of his style in the late 1740s.


Numbered at lower right, in graphite, "50".

Mrs. J.P. Morgan, New York; by descent to her sons Junius S. Morgan, Princeton and Paris (no mark, see Lugt 1536) and Henry S. Morgan, New York.
Associated names: 

Morgan, Jane Norton, 1868-1925, former owner.
Morgan, Junius Spencer, 1892-1960, former owner.
Morgan, Henry S. (Henry Sturgis), 1900-1982, former owner.


Denison, Cara, Myra Nan Rosenfeld, and Stephanie Wiles. Exploring Rome : Piranesi and His Contemporaries. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library; Montrǎl : Centre Canadien d'Architecture, 1993, no. 16, repr.