Plate 4 from Carceri d'Invenzione

The Grand Piazza, 18th century


The Martha T. Wallace Memorial Fund, 1930expand_more  P.11,328

Not on Viewexpand_more

Traces of Piranesi’s abandoned first draft—faint, intermittent straight lines that crisscross the background— reveal his improvisational working method. Using printing plates as sketch pads, torturing them with corrosive acids, and radically reworking them, Piranesi fully exploited the liberties afforded by etching. He ranks among the select company of artists—Rembrandt is another—who have done the same.

The Grand Piazza
Artist Life
Italian, 1720–1778
Accession Number
Erbach-Erbach family, Schloss Erbach Hofbibliothek, Erbach (Odenwald), Germany. F. H. Bresler Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisc.
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind prisons 04 ii/iii, F.27, Robison 31 v/vi
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

In consideration of the health and safety of visitors, volunteers, and staff, Mia is temporarily closed to the public. Learn more here.

Plate 4 from Carceri d'Invenzione