Lot 215: GIOVANNI B. PIRANESI Grotteschi.
03 November 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
GIOVANNI B. PIRANESI
Set of 4 etchings with engraving, drypoint and burnishing, circa 1747-49. Each approximately 395x555 mm; 15 1/2x22 inches, wide margins. Robison 21 and 22 in the third state (of 5); Robison 23 in the third state (of 6); Robison 24 in the second state (of 4). Robison's Second Edition, issued from circa 1750 to the early 1770s, lifetime impressions. Very good impressions of these scarce etchings, exceedingly rare as a complete set.
We have found approximately only 20 other complete sets of the Grotteschi at auction in the past 30 years.
According to Robison, "The four large, horizontal plates Piranesi called the Grotteschi depict evocative mélanges of ancient bones and artifacts associating human, cultural and architectural decay. Because of what is frequently seen as their Tiepoloesque character, the Grotteschi have long been considered Piranesi's most Venetian prints, and scholars have believed their production was closely connected with the artist's trip home to Venice (late 1740s)." Robison 21-24.