Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Papal Cartouche with Tiara and Keys
ca. 1763-1764
Pen and brown ink on paper.
10 1/8 x 5 7/8 inches (258 x 150 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

The references to the papacy and the shell at the bottom of this study--a motif that appears throughout Piranesi's drawings for the Lateran Basilica--surely indicate a connection to that project. Similar features are found at the upper corners of the baldachin that Piranesi planned to construct above the altar (seen among the drawings at Columbia University); this is perhaps a study for those elements, or else for the papal arms imagined as an overdoor decoration in the "Tavola Decimaottava" among the finished drawings for the Lateran now in the collection of the Avery Library at Columbia University. A similar drawing is at the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, HdZ 138.


Numbered at upper left, inverted, in graphite, "63".

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.


Stampfle, Felice. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Dover, 1978, no. 111, repr.