Plate 16 from Carceri d'Invenzione

The Pier with Chains, c. 1761


The Martha T. Wallace Memorial Fund, 1930expand_more  P.11,340

Not on Viewexpand_more

The inscriptions on the tablets are based on the ancient writer Livy’s History of Rome (27-9 BCE). In part, the ominous phrases read “to terrify . . .,” “infamous wickedness . . .,” and “thus to treason and evil conduct.” Whether or not these allusions to classical texts are meant to locate the Prisons in antiquity, they address the darkest recesses of the viewer’s consciousness.

The Pier with Chains
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 16 ii/iii, F.39, Robison 42 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 16 from Carceri d'Invenzione