Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Assistants

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Assistants
Inner Courtyard of the Temple of Isis at Pompeii
Pen and black and brown ink, gray wash, over black chalk, squared with graphite.
20 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches (522 x 775 mm)
Thaw Collection.

This is one of the latest of Piranesi's drawings, made during his trip to Pompeii in the final years of his life. Like other drawings from the trip (see also Morgan 1963.12), it is not entirely by Piranesi himself. An assistant -- perhaps the architectural draftsman Benedetto Mori -- set out the architectural framework. Piranesi then reworked the sheet, adding the bold hatching and emphasizing certain details. The awkward wash and the figures, however, which are out of scale with the scene, are the work of Francesco Piranesi and may have been added at a later date.
The Temple of Isis was one of the first major discoveries during the phase of excavation at Pompeii that began in the mid-1760s. There are eight studies of it by Piranesi, with other examples in the British Museum, London, and the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin.
For a complete account of Piranesi's Pompeii drawings, see both Hylton Thomas, "Piranesi and Pompeii," Kunstmuseets Arsskrift 1952-1955 (Copenhagen, 1956), 13-28, and Andrew Robison, Piranesi and Pompeii, Including Two Major Drawings from the George Ortiz Collection (London, 2020).


Inscribed along lower right edge, in pen and brown ink, (on back) "Veduta in angolo del tiempo d' Isibe", and numbered within the drawing by Piranesi from 1 through 23, in a different brown ink; on verso at upper center, "Tav. 12", at lower left, "Part. 2. / Tav./ 14", at lower right, "veduta in angolo del tiempo d' Iside".
Watermark: Shield with bend, fleur-de-lis and sword inside, letter "F" above and "M" below. Strasbourg bend.

Part of a group of 5 drawings by Piranesi sold in an unidentified country sale in the 1950s; where acquired by William Redford (1913-2004), London; from whom acquired by Hans Calmann (1899-1982), London; sold to John Hewitt (1919-1994), London; from whom acquired by George Ortiz (1927-2013), in July 1958 [1]; by whom sold to John J. Klejman (1906-1995), New York; Sydney J. Lamon (d. 1973), New York; his sale, Christie's, London, 27 November 1973, lot 314; R.M. Light & Co., Boston; Eugene V. Thaw, New York. -- ([1]: Unpublished manuscript by Hans M. Calmann, 1976, pp. 37-38, 103.)
Associated names: 

Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778, Workshop of.
Redford, William, 1913-2004, former owner.
Calmann, Hans M., 1899-1982, former owner.
Ortiz, George, former owner.
Hewett, Kenneth John, 1919-1994, former owner.
Klejman, John Jacob, 1906-1995, former owner.
Lamon, Sydney J., -1973, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.


Thaw Catalogue Raisonné, 2017, no. 294, repr.
Stampfle, Felice, and Cara D. Denison. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene V. Thaw. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975, no. 56. (also in Thaw III, no. 38)
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 38.
The Golden Age of Naples: Art and Civilization under the Bourbons 1734-1805, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, II, 1981, no. 89b, repr.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Nineteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978-1980. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, p. 209.
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. 45, repr.