Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Sketch for a decorative panel with a circular pattern of medallions and garlands
ca. 1768-1772
Pen and brown ink, over red chalk, on paper.
9 7/8 x 8 7/8 inches (255 x 232 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

Inscribed at lower center, inverted, in pen and brown ink, "Pa mi["mi" in superscript]"; numbered at upper left, inverted, in graphite, "113".

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. 115, repr.


This drawing represents a plan for a wall panel and shows Piranesi's evolution away from the curving Venetian Rococo of a similar earlier sketch at the Morgan (inv. 1966.11:13) and towards to an all'antica classicism. The inscription at top is a measurement -- 4 1/4 Roman palms -- indicating that this was probably a design for a real interior rather than a mere exercise in form. The intended purpose of the plan, however, has not been identified.

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.