Jul 25, 2016
Dec 9, 2009

The Temple of Isis at Pompeii

The Temple of Isis at Pompeii


etched by

Francesco Piranesi

(Italian, 1758–1810)

hand-colored by

Louis Jean Desprez

(French, 1743–1804)

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.

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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