Piranesi and the Temples of Paestum: Drawings from Sir John Soane’s Museum

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Interior of the Temple of Neptune, Looking South-East (Study for Plate XVII of the Différentes Vues de Pesto), ca. 1777-78 Brush And Brown Ink And Wash Over Black Chalk On Paper © Sir John Soane's Museum
Piranesi and the Temples of Paestum: Drawings from Sir John Soane’s Museum

225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016
January 23rd, 2015 - May 17th, 2015
Opening: January 23rd, 2015 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM

(212) 685-0008
Tue-Thu 10:30-5 p.m. Fri 10:30 -9; Sat 10-6; Sun 11-6


In 1777, the great Italian draftsman, etcher and antiquarian Giovanni Battista Piranesi visited the haunting and majestic archaeological site of Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno south of Naples. He produced a series of monumental drawings recording the three Doric temples, then known as the Basilica, the Temple of Neptune, and the Temple of Ceres, in preparation for a set of etchings, Différents vues de Pesto. Piranesi died shortly after having received the papal imprimatur in 1778, but the set was completed by his son, Francesco, and published posthumously in the same year. In 1817, the English architect Sir John Soane, who had met Piranesi in Rome shortly before the artist’s death, acquired fifteen of Piranesi’s seventeen surviving Paestum drawings. Preserved at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, the drawings have only recently been restored and will be shown in the United States for the first time.

This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Family Foundation.

Organized by Sir John Soane's Museum, London, with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.