Stampfle, Felice. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Dover, 1978, no. 14, repr.
This is one of a number of drawings at the Morgan that were executed on Venetian paper and in the style that Piranesi adopted when he visited his hometown in 1745. The purpose of this drawing is not clear. While it seems to be a scheme for some sort of lidded vessel -- an urn or perhaps even a coffeepot -- Piranesi had not yet started to produce decorative objects when he drew the sheet. In any case, in its mix of natural form and fantastic abstraction, the drawing demonstrates an approach to ornamental design that Piranesi would employ throughout his career.