Antonio de Pian

De Pian’s small drawing of a massive hall offers a striking contrast, setting his exacting linework and controlled gray wash against the hastily applied red, blue, and yellow watercolor. These bold primary colors aside, the careful execution, framing line, and signature suggest that De Pian produced this drawing as an end in itself—a demonstration of his abilities as a scenic designer. Such displays circulated during the artist’s lifetime, most notably through a bound series of reproductions of his sets, engraved and published by his contemporary and fellow Viennese stage designer Norbert Bittner in 1818.

Antonio de Pian (1784–1851)
A Massive Vaulted Hall, ca. 1815–30
Pen and brown ink, with gray wash and opaque watercolor, over graphite
Gift of Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager; 1982.75:662