A busy, detailed engraving of gothic archways, creating something of a visual illusion. Staircases surround the archways with small figures seen wandering around.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Gothic Arch, 1749-1760, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Gothic Arch

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

In the sixteen etchings that form his series Inventions of Imaginary Prisons, of which this is one, Piranesi created complex fantastical architectural interiors. While there is an illusion of depth and space, the rules of linear perspective are purposefully ignored. The composition places the viewer at an angle that does not allow a clear understanding of the construction but asks us to navigate the rhythmic repetition of stone buttresses, beams, arches and stairways. 

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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