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The Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, from Views of Rome

A work made of etching on heavy ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on heavy ivory laid paper.


1750/59, published 1800–07


Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Italian, 1720-1778)
published by Francesco (Italian, 1758-1810) and Pietro Piranesi (Italian, born 1758/59)

About this artwork

One of two Piranesi engravings of the Pyramid of Cestius, this etching was published posthumously by the artist’s sons. The pyramid was essential viewing for many who undertook the Grand Tour in the 18th and 19th centuries. Constructed c. 18 b.c./c. 12 b.c. as a tomb for the powerful Roman magistrate Gaius Cestius, the marble-clad structure is reminiscent of the Roman fad for all things Egyptian. In fact, the similarity of the tomb to the pyramids of Nubia suggests that Cestius served on a military campaign in Egypt. Today Cestius’s well-preserved tomb remains Rome’s only existing ancient Egyptian-style pyramid.


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Prints and Drawings


Giovanni Battista Piranesi


The Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, from Views of Rome


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1750–1759


Etching on heavy ivory laid paper


Image: 38.7 × 53.1 cm (15 1/4 × 20 15/16 in.); Plate: 39.2 × 53.6 cm (15 7/16 × 21 1/8 in.); Sheet: 47.5 × 60.9 cm (18 3/4 × 24 in.)

Credit Line

The Charles Deering Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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