Library Catalog

The Prisons / Piranesi
The print collection comprises over 27,000 loose and bound prints from the early 16th century through the 20th century, and includes a range of printmaking techniques and genres from the most refined and innovative to the popular and the documentary. The collection covers vedute and maps, festival prints and ornament prints, reproductions of paintings, sculpture, and architecture, as well portraits of artists, collectors, and patrons.

The classical tradition is a core strength that includes two copies of Antonio Lafreri's Speculum romanae magnificentiae (later 16th century), and a complete, uniform set of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's oeuvre including a selection of early states, most notably a first edition/first issue of the 1749–50 Prisons in a remarkable state of preservation. Collections documenting contacts between the West and Asia consist of numerous precious objects of great historical interest: the monumental woodcuts of the so-called Complete Map of the World by Ferdinand Verbiest (Korean edition, ca. 1860), the suite of 16 Battles of the Emperor of China commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor from French engravers (1765–1775), and the extraordinarily rare Garden of Perfect Clarity (1783–86), the first copper plate prints produced entirely in China.