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The Drawbridge

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  • Dan Eames asked

    Is it possible to make an appointment to view this item: "The Drawbridge" by Piranesi.

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Dan, we are just starting to offer this service.There will be information on the website soon. For now I passed your question to the colleague who organizes it and she will be in touch with you. Best, Els


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An important part of the museum's collection of graphic art is formed by the almost twohundred etchings done by the Italian artist and architect, Giovanni Battista Piranesi. He transferred his dreams and fantasies into a major series of etchings. Even during his lifetime these earned him great fame. Initially, he limited his work to making romantic impressions of vast ruins from Roman antiquity. Later he made his own architectural creations on paper, works with a stunning and terrifying impact - especially the series 'Carceri' (dungeons). They conjure up immense buildings through which staircases wind endlessly and a human being is a miniscule detail becoming more and more insignificant. The hallucinatory nature of these works is strengthened by the fact that the perspective makes the scene increasingly complicated and impenetrable.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The Drawbridge
Material and technique Etching and engraving
Object type
Print > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Height 547 mm
Width 408 mm
Artists Publisher: Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Accession number L 1952/34 (PK)
Credits Aankoop met steun van / Purchase with support of: Stichting Lucas van Leyden 1952
Department Drawings & Prints
Acquisition date 1952
Creation date in 1761
Signature lower left: Piranesi F.
Watermark two watermarks: letters and numerals FIN T DUPUY AUVERGNE 1742 (70 x 133 mm, upper center, to the left, P2-5 from above; vV, 20P, plano; similar to Robison 78); dovecote (133 x 125 mm, lower center, to the left, P2-5 from below; vV, 20P, plano; not in Robinson)
Inscriptions upper left: VII
Provenance ; - ; art dealers Paul Prouté S.A., Paris; purchase with support of Stichting Lucas van Leyden 1952
Exhibitions Rotterdam 1953; Amsterdam 1997; Maastricht 1998; Rotterdam 1998; Sint-Niklaas 1999; Rotterdam 2006; Haarlem 2008; Rotterdam 2009 (coll 2 kw 1-2); Rotterdam 2015; Rotterdam 2019; Rotterdam 2022
Internal exhibitions De Collectie Twee - wissel I, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
De Collectie Twee - wissel II, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
Piranesi . Canaletto . Tiepolo: prenten uit de collectie Bierens de Haan, een keuze van oud-directeur J.C. Ebbinge Wubben (2006)
Piranesi (2022)
External exhibitions Boijmans bij de Buren - De duizelingwekkende verbeelding van Piranesi (2019)
Research Piranesi on Paper
Literature Focillon 1918, no. 30; Hind 1922, no. 7; Rotterdam 1953, nos. 15-30, pl. 3; Robison 1986, no. 33; Wilton-Ely 1994, no. 32; Amsterdam 1997, no. VII, ill.; Maastricht 1998, pl. 9; Rotterdam 1998, ill.; Rotterdam 2006, ill.; Rotterdam 2015, no. 33
Etching > Manual > Intaglio printing techniques > Printing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Engraving > Engraved > Manual > Intaglio printing techniques > Printing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Engraving > Engraved > Manual > Intaglio printing techniques > Printing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin Italy > Southern Europe > Europe

All about the artist

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Venetië 1720 - Rome 1778

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