This early drawing by Giovanni Battista Piranesi hints at the foreboding, seemingly irrational prison interiors he would design in later years. The diminutive size of the figures—probably added after the architecture was complete—distorts the sense of scale, and by showing the architecture at an oblique angle, Piranesi is able to suggest that the shadowy galleries extend almost indefinitely.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778). Perspective of massive piers and arches, ca. 1743–1744. Pen and brown ink and gray and brown wash, over black chalk; 7 3/16 x 9 11/16 inches (183 x 246 mm). Bequest of Junius S. Morgan and gift of Henry S. Morgan; 1966.11:16