Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
1720-1778
Design for a Mantelpiece with Corner Medallion with Double Portrait Heads, Sketch of Seated Figure
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk, on paper.
6 3/8 x 9 5/8 inches (161 x 246 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.
1966.11:62

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Inscription: 
Inscribed at left, in pen and brown ink, "fiacole".
Provenance: 
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.
Bibliography: 

Stampfle, Felice. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Dover, 1978, no. 62, repr.

Notes: 

Drawing is on verso of a fragment of an etching from "Antichit ̉d'Albano e di Castel Gandolfo," 1764, f. 523.
The design is less overtly didactic and includes medallions, a caduceus, and--as indicated by Piranesi's inscription in the corner--a fiacola, or torch. The figure is unrelated to the fireplace design; it is one of Piranesi's many quick sketches of people seen in the studio, like the figure drawings elsewhere in the exhibition.

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