The tomb of Cecilia Metella, Rome: a marble sarcophagus found inside the tomb. Etching by G.B. Piranesi, ca. 1756.

  • Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778.
  • Pictures

About this work


Elevation (figs. A-D), plan (fig. E), cross-section (fig. F), profile (figs. H, O, N), gold cinerary urn found inside the casket (fig. I), and details of the marble carving (figs. K-N)


[Roma [Rome]] : [Nella stamperia di Angelo Rotilj nel Palazzo de' Massimi], [1756?]

Physical description

1 print : etching ; platemark 39.5 x 60.2 cm


A. Urna di marmo col suo coperchio ritrovata dentro al mausoleo di Cecilia Metella nel pontificato di Paolo III, ed in oggi esistente nel cortile del Palazzo Farnese ... O. Gola della base lavorata a foglie d'ulivo e fusarolli tutta all'intorno. Piranesi archit. dis. et inc. Bears number: Tom III LII. Paraphrase of Piranesi's comment: he wishes to show the details of this sarcophagus in large format because many architects of the past, especially Michelangelo, have taken from it new and bizarre inventions with which they have adorned their works of architecture. The sarcophagus is remarkable for its shape and for its capricious ornaments in the grotesque style: they can be tolerated in such a work as a casket but not in fine public buildings, as Vitruvius rightly complained occurred in his day, when such abuses were introduced into solemn edifices


Wellcome Collection 2008520i



Where to find it

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