Etching, hand-colored with watercolor
Support: Laid paper with added decorative border, lined with secondary sheet of laid paper
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
Catalogue raisonné: Wollin p. 113 no. 7
State: state I/II
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.
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