Francesco Piranesi (Italian, 1758-1810), Louis Jean Desprez (French, 1743-1804)
Etching, hand-colored with watercolor, Sheet: 47.7 x 69.6 cm (18 3/4 x 27 3/8 in.); Secondary Support: 59.2 x 81.3 cm (23 5/16 x 32 in.). John L. Severance Fund 2001.19
Trained as a stage designer and architect, Desprez was a talented watercolorist. He collaborated with Francesco Piranesi—the son of the more celebrated printmaker Giovanni Piranesi (1720–1778)—by drawing views of Naples, Rome, and Pompeii that Piranesi etched. Desprez then completed the prints with watercolor. The scene of tourists enjoying the ruins at Pompeii demonstrates how interest in antiquity had been augmented by the archaeological excavations at Herculaneum (1737) and Pompeii (1748). The discovery of homes, furnishings, and personal artifacts revealed the domestic aspects of ancient life.
The Cleveland Museum of Art; 8/26/01-10/28/01. "Inventive Impressions: 18th- and 19th-Century French Prints".The Cleveland Museum of Art (09/ 12/2012 - 01/07/2013 Getty Villa Malibu, CA; 02/24/2013 - 07/07/2013 Cleveland Museum of Art); "The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection"
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