Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Design for a wall panel with ornamental moldings. Verso: Sketch
ca. 1745-1747
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk, on paper; squared in graphite; verso: black chalk.
11 5/16 x 11 1/16 inches (288 x 282 mm)
Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan.

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The measured squaring--not at right angles but seemingly conveying some perspective projection--suggests that this design was planned for a real architectural space, and the decorative style is that used in Venetian interiors of the time. An early biographer stated that Piranesi tried to win commissions for interior decoration during his trips home to Venice in the mid-1740s; one can imagine that this sheet was related to such a project.

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. 13, repr.