Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Design for Title Page with a Crown and Sarcophagus. Verso: Standing Male Nude.
a. 1747-48
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, on laid paper; verso: black chalk.
15 9/16 x 20 7/16 inches (395 x 520 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.


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Watermark: Fleur-de-lis inside circle, surmounted by letters "ACC", with letter "F" below circle, centered on chain line. Same as watermark on 1966.11:6 Watermark
This drawing is part of a series of studies that Piranesi made for the Monumental Tablet plate in his Grotteschi. He adopted the curling parchment and energetic hatched lines of an earlier study (Morgan drawing 1966.111:8) and added the scythe, architectural elements, spatial ambiguity, and claustrophobic intensity that remain in the final print. While related to his Venetian-style drawings, this sheet is on central Italian paper and was almost certainly executed after Piranesi returned to Rome in September 1747. The figure study on the verso is one of only a handful of drawing by Piranesi after nude studio models.

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; Montréal : Centre Canadien d'Architecture, 1993, no. 18, repr.