- Museum number
An atrium with two domes flanked by colonnades
Pen and brown ink, grey wash, over traces of black chalk
- Production date
- 1740-1743 (circa)
Height: 135 millimetres
Width: 206 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- As Andrew Robison first noted, this is a preliminary study for plate 10, 'Vestibule of an ancient temple', of the first edition of the 'Prima Parte' issued in 1743 (J. Wilton-Ely, 'Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the complete etchings', San Francisco, 1994, I, no. 13, p. 32). The print, which is in the same direction as the drawing, differs most markedly in the background, eliminating the drum pierced by windows in the circular atrium and enhancing the sense of recession in the background by showing a distant arch in the far distance. As Robison observed the theatrical curtain included at the top of the drawing indicates that this was intended as a stage design (the architecture modelled on the interior of Palladio's Chiesa del Redentore in Venice). The composition is enclosed within ruled framing lines, broken at the lower left by the reworked area when he revised the design following his decision to use it as the basis for the 'Prima Parte' print. In the left foreground he altered the lower parts of the columns to indicate that they should be raised on bases above floor level as they are in the print. The inscription 'chiaro' written by the artist on either side of the foremost arch is an instruction to remind himself to make this area lighter in the print.
1908,0616.30 is another study for the 'Prima Parte'.
Lit.: E. Croft-Murray, in exhib. cat., BM, 'Giovanni Battista Piranesi', 1968, no. 81; A. Robison, 'Preliminary Drawings for Piranesi's Early Architectural Fantasies', "Master Drawings", XV, 1977, 4, p. 395, fig. 8; A. Robison, 'Piranesi: early architectural fantasies, a catalogue raisonné of the etchings', Chicago and London, 1986, pp. 18-19, fig. 20, and under no. 11; A. Robison, in exhib. cat., London, Royal Academy and Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'The Glory of Venice', 1994-5, no. 263
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978 Jun-Oct, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Piranesi', no.
1994 Sept-Dec, London, Royal Academy, 'The Glory of Venice', no.263
2020 20 Feb-9 Aug, London, BM, 'Piranesi's drawings'.
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number