Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Design for Title Page with a Pulpit
ca. 1746-1747
Pen and brown ink and wash and pink watercolor, over black chalk, on paper. Central design of pulpit has been pricked for transfer.
20 x 29 1/2 inches (508 x 749 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.
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.

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. 19, repr.
100 Master drawings from the Morgan Library & Museum. München : Hirmer, 2008, no. 32, repr. [Kurt Zeitler]


Watermark: bow and arrow. Watermark, beta radiograph, bow and arrow. 142394wm1_1966_11_8_WM_beta.tiff.
Watermark: Countermark: Letter "Z" Watermark(countermark), beta radiograph, Z. 142394wm2_1966_11_8_CM_beta.tiff.
The influence of Tiepolo's drawings is clear in this impressive title page design, in which the fluid washes and animated lines play off the bright reserves of the paper. The function of the drawing is not entirely clear: Was it an elaborate presentation design for the ornate pulpit, seen in both elevation and plan? The composition, with its trompe l'oeil curling parchment and string of medallions, seems also to have been a first step in the evolution of the "Monumental Tablet" plate in Piranesi's Grotteschi.

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.