Piper, John: Baths of Caracalla
A lovely original work, a flowing watercolour and pastel with pencil and wax crayon giving us a Piper-eye view of the ruins of the ‘Baths of Caracalla’ in near the Appian Way in Rome.
Built between 212 and 216 the baths were completed under the direction of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, more commonly known as Emperor Caracalla. Covered with marble and decorated with valuable works of art, the Baths of Caracalla were the most sumptuous and most spectacular thermal complexes to be built in ancient times.
The baths served as inspiration for many other notable buildings, both ancient and modern including the Baths of Diocletian, the Basilica of Maxentius, the original Penn(sylvania) Station in New York City, Chicago Union Station and the Senate of Canada Building.
More images can be provided on request.
Artist: John Piper (British, 1903-1992), signed lower left
Title and date: Baths of Caracalla, dated 25.02.61
Size: image size – 29.0 x 34.0 cms., framed size – 36 x 54 cms.
Born in Epsom, John Egerton Christmas Piper studied at Richmond School of Art and the Royal College of Art from 1926-8. In the mid 1930a, after a visit to Paris, he turned to abstraction. He became a member of the London Group in 1933 and the ‘Seven and Five’ group in 1934-5. During this period he became friends with Oliver Simon of the Curwen Press and his interest in lithography and print making grew. During the Second World War, Piper was appointed as an official war artist recording the effects of the blitz on Britain’s buildings. After the war, he became a Trustee of the Tate and National Galleries and in 1959 he became a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission. Piper is best known for his extensive studies of British architecture and landscape in oil, watercolour and print, and for his photography, stained glass, ceramics, fabric design, murals, stage sets and costume design. His work is held in many Museums and Galleries.