Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Three Figures and Architectural Details
ca. 1758-1762
Pen and brown ink, red and black chalk, on laid paper.
16 9/16 x 21 5/8 inches (420 x 548 mm)
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows.

Inscribed by the artist, at upper right, in red chalk, "Segue / a mediano (?) / B / Presbiterio; arco di tran... / primo ordine B arciprete / di(?) mezzo; at left in opposite direction, "dentell / quadre"; in black chalk, "lo stesso (?) / servizio (?) volute le finstre / pianta / portone / dalla parte d mezzo della / faciata / Campanile (?); numbered at upper center in graphite, "248".
Watermark: Fleur-de-lis inside double circle surmounted by monogram "CB" above and "F" below circle on chain line. Centered on chain line, wires of double circle are indented at lower right.

Ludwig Hermann Philippi (1848-1908), Hamburg (Lugt 1335); Hans M. Calmann, London.

Adams, Frederick B., Jr. First Annual Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1950, p. 53-54.
Pierpont Morgan Library. Review of Acquisitions, 1949-1968. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969, p. 160.
Stampfle, Felice. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Dover, 1978, no. A-8, repr.


Drawing is on verso of an etching showing plan of remains of the Theater of Marcellus, Rome, from "Le antichità romane," 1756. f. 360, vol. IV, pl. XXV.
Many of Piranesi's figure drawings are quick impressions of daily encounters in the street or studio, such as these three pen studies of workmen with aprons, caps, and rolled-up sleeves. They are perhaps Piranesi's earliest sketches of printers in his workshop. As with many of Piranesi's figure studies, the drawing is executed on the back of a discarded etching--in this case, a plate from volume four of the Antichità Romane, first issued in 1756. The architectural studies at right are details of the transept facade and bell tower of San Giovanni in Laterano, perhaps drawn when Piranesi was designing an extension to the choir of the church in the early 1760s.

Associated names: 

Philippi, Ludwig Herman, 1848-1908, former owner.
Calmann, Hans M., 1899-1982, former owner.