Neoclassical marble-top table; corresponds exactly to one of the engravings in Piranesi's volume of designs for furniture, I Cammini (1769)

Pier table, c. 1768

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This is one of the few pieces of Giovanni Piranesi’s furniture to survive. The versatile Piranesi was a printmaker, archaeologist, architect, and designer. His numerous etchings of Roman ruins contributed greatly to 18th-century Europe’s interest in the ancient world. In 1769 he published Diverse Manners of Ornamenting Chimneys and All Other Parts of Houses, a collection of imaginative designs for clocks, vases, chimneypieces, and even coaches.

This table is one of a pair made for the Roman state apartments of a nephew of Pope Clement XIII. Piranesi drew from several ancient designs. He modeled the legs—carved like winged chimeras (mythological monsters, part lion, part goat)—after bronze tripods found at the ruined cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The ox skulls are based on Roman funerary motifs.

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Details
Title
Pier table
Artist Life
Italian, 1720–1778
Role
Designer
Accession Number
64.70
Curator Approved

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Neoclassical marble-top table; corresponds exactly to one of the engravings in Piranesi's volume of designs for furniture, I Cammini (1769)