Workshop of Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Workshop of Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Frieze Motif of Standing Putti with Swag of Fruit. Verso: Flying Putti
ca. 1760-1765
Red and black chalk on paper; verso: red chalk.
4 3/4 x 11 3/16 inches (121 x 285 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

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Numbered at lower right, in graphite, "26".

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.

Stampfle, Felice. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Dover, 1978, no. 24, repr.


In a plate of his Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi (Vases, Candelabra, Grave Stones, Sarcophagi, Tripods, Lamps, and Ornaments) of 1778, Piranesi depicts this frieze as the base for an ancient altar that had been excavated at Tivoli. The altar was in Piranesi's possession, but the frieze is a relief built into the garden facade of the Palazzo Barberini. This type of composite, imaginary antiquity is typical of Piranesi, and it demonstrates how he made use of the rich stock of studio drawings depicting ancient monuments around Rome. The related etching dates to the late 1770s, but this drawing is by a professional draftsman active in Piranesi's studio in the first half of the 1760s; two further drawings of the relief linked to Piranesi's workshop are in the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe.

Associated names: 

Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778, Workshop of.
Morgan, Jane Norton, 1868-1925, former owner.
Morgan, Junius Spencer, 1892-1960, former owner.
Morgan, Henry S. (Henry Sturgis), 1900-1982, former owner.