Designed and hand colored by Louis Jean Desprez (French, Auxerre 1743–1804 Stockholm)
Etched by Francesco Piranesi (Italian, Rome 1758–1810 Paris)
Etching with hand-coloring
sheet: 27 3/4 x 19 1/8 in. (70.5 x 48.6 cm)
mat: 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1969
Not on view
From 1471, the papacy sponsored a spectacular fireworks display called the Girandola at the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, the papal fortress originally constructed as the mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian. Every year at Easter, on the eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 28) and whenever a new pope was elected the fireworks would be staged. This remarkable print, designed and hand-colored by Louis-Jean Desprez and etched by Francesco Piranesi (son of the more famous Giovanni Battista) depicts the Girandola from a vantage on the opposite bank of the Tiber. In the foreground, spectators watch from carriages and a canopied viewing stand. Animated crowds populate the dramatically foreshortened Ponte Sant'Angelo, and the explosion of the rockets illuminating the night sky dominates the upper half of the sheet.
Lord St. Clarie; C. Mackintosh
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints, Fireworks! Four Centuries of Pyrotechnics in Prints and Drawings," June 6, 2000–July 9, 2000.
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon. "Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour," September 25, 2010–January 2, 2011.
Princeton University Art Museum. "Lasting Impressions of the Grand Tour: Guiseppe Vasi's Rome," March 5, 2011–June 12, 2011.
New York. Morgan Library & Museum. "City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics," June 17–September 11, 2016.
Wollin p.111.3-i; Wollin, Desprez in Italy, p. 160
Artist: Louis Jean Desprez (French, Auxerre 1743–1804 Stockholm)Date: n.d.Medium: Pen and black ink, gray wash and watercolor, over traces of graphite. Framing lines in pen and brown ink.Accession: 1975.131.107On view in:Not on view