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From the copperplate engraving by Piranesi

Hall-tone plate engraved by G. M. Lewis








CANNOT better begin this article on has brought $12,300; his portrait of Jan

Piranesi than by citing a remark which Six, Burgomaster of Amsterdam, $14,was made to me about him by Alphonse 200; the very diminutive “Landscape Legros, the French artist who for more with a Tower," $9400; and the portrait than twenty years was professor of art, of the goldsmith Lutma, $4600. In comunder the Slade endowment, at University parison, the present values of Piranesi's College, London. We all know that these prints seem trilling, although, it is true, dignified professors sometimes “say more these prices have increased more than than their prayers,” but when Professor twenty-fold within the last twenty years. Legros uttered a pronouncement on some As in the case of every other master in artist it was sure to be something worth art, Piranesi's style and method were absoremembering. Legros is a remarkable lute innovations: nothing that resembles man, and although he has never been them had ever been thought of or atable to speak English, he has had more tempted before he originated them. But, on and better influence on British art than the other hand, he had a host of imitators, any other man of his generation except, although none of these had the least claim perhaps, Whistler. What Legros said of to rank as his rival. The best among them Piranesi's etchings was this: "If only were his own son Francesco, who was born these etchings were as small in size as the at Rome in 1756, and Luigi Rossini, who etchings of Rembrandt, they would now was born in 1790. Rossini made the prebe selling for prices about as high.” posterous mistake of etching the same

Legros was right; your thorough-paced buildings which Piranesi had already done collector abhors a big print. Some of in a manner immeasurably superior. Of Rembrandt's most famous etchings mea- this wide difference between an original sure no more than about five by eight man and his imitator, Dr. Samuel Johninches, while an average Piranesi mea- son once made a very pungent remark. sures, without the margins, about twenty- Some one had been saying of a contemposix by eighteen inches. The collector rary that his poems resembled those of hoards his precious little prints in his port- John Dryden, and were quite as good. To folios; but for framing as decorations for this Dr. Johnson retorted, "Sir, your the walls of a home, such an authority as friend may make Dryden's report, but he Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer declares does not carry his bullet.” that she knows no pictures in black-and- Giovanni Battista (or Giambattista) white which are so effective as Piranesi's. Piranesi was the son of a stone-mason. He

Within recent years fine original im- was born in Venice in 1720, and died at pressions of certain etchings by Rem- Rome in 1778. Before leaving Venice, brandt have sold at public auction for he studied drawing and architecture, and prices which would have astounded the to the end of his life he signed some of his old Dutch master, who died in the year finest plates “Piranesi, architect." He 1669. His “Christ Healing the Sick" also did some important work in architec

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From the copperplate engraving by Piranesi. Half-tone plate engraved by C. W. Chadwick SCENE IN A ROMAN PRISON-ONE OF PIRANESI'S SERIES OF IMAGINARY PRISONS

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