The Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, from Views of Rome

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

Image actions

  • 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.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings


Giovanni Battista Piranesi


The Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, from Views of Rome






Etching on heavy ivory laid paper


Title and subtitles on wall at lower right in image. Address (Presso l'Autore) and signature (Piranesi F.) on plate under image. Stamped on verso CD and The Art Institute of Chicago.


387 x 531 mm (image); 392 x 536 mm (plate); 475 x 609 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

The Charles Deering Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .


Explore Further

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions