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The Skeletons

c. 1747
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Italian, 1720–1778)
The term "grottesco" originated from the late-fifteenth-century discovery of ancient paintings in the underground chambers, or grottoes, beneath the streets of Rome. Initially the term referred to a type of painting, but it gradually came to describe any work of a phantasmagoric or eerie nature. Piranesi invokes the idea of the antique grotto in this grottesco of a decaying, subterranean world filled with skeletons, broken vases, columns, sculptures, and scrolling ornaments.

Object Details

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