Attributed to Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Attributed to Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Prison Interior with Figures Mounting a Stairway
ca. 1747-50
Pen and brown ink and gray wash, red chalk and red chalk wash, over brown ink on paper.
8 7/16 x 5 15/16 inches (215 x 152 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

Watermark: Complex shield, surrounded by double chain and religious emblems, fragment, star, knight on horse, lamp, beaded chain. Arms of Spain or Kingdom of the Two Sicilies watermark (akin to Churchill 1935, no. 262). See 1966.11:101 for a related mark.

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. 15, repr.


This drawing is in the mixed technique of red chalk and brown wash that Piranesi used in the late 1740s, but its attribution to Piranesi himself is questionable; it may be the work of an assistant emulating the master's drawings.

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.