Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Figure Studies
Pen and brown ink on laid paper.
9 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches (230 x 140 mm)
Gift of János Scholz.

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Jules-Alexandre Duval le Camus, Paris (Lugt 1441); Francis Matthiessen, London; Otto Wertheimer, Paris; from whom purchased in 1947 by János Scholz, New York (no mark; see Lugt S. 2933b).

Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Eighteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975-1977. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978, p. 283.
Denison, Cara, Myra Nan Rosenfeld, and Stephanie Wiles. Exploring Rome : Piranesi and His Contemporaries. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library; Montréal : Centre Canadien d'Architecture, 1993, no. 43, repr.


Watermark: bird on three mounts inside circle.
These sketches, made with a thick pen and employing parallel zigzag hatching, date to the 1760s and are unusual in having remained together: many of Piranesi's sheets with figure studies have been cut apart to make scraps with individual figures. The men's expressive gestures are typical of Piranesi's figure drawings and of the figures who often vitalize his printed views. A note on the back of the sheet reveals that it was from an album sold in Paris and later dispersed, which may be the source of many similar figure drawings.