Lot 209: GIOVANNI B. PIRANESI The Pier with a Lamp.
November 3, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
GIOVANNI B. PIRANESI
The Pier with a Lamp.
Etching, engraving and burnishing, circa 1749. 410x545 mm; 16 1/4x21 1/2 inches, small margins. First state (of 7). From Carceri d''Invenzione. A superb, richly-inked and early impression; extremely scarce in this early state.
Piranesi''s Carceri d''Invenzione is a series of 16 etchings of dark, forboding imaginary prison interiors that show enormous subterranean vaults with stairs, massive iron work and torture-like machines. The images were considerably influential on 19th century Romantic and Symbolist artists and, in their distorted views and abstract, expressive linear style, presaged 20th century modern art. These scenes stand out in Piranesi''s ouevre as among his most celebrated works of fantastic architecture, apart from his well-known views of Rome (see lots 216-226) and his extensive body of etchings cataloguing Roman ruins and artifacts. Robison 41.