Vertical Section of the Pyramid of Caius Cestius



Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720 - 1778


Vertical Section of the Pyramid of Caius Cestius






Overall: 21 1/8 in. (53.7 cm)
Mat: 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Sheet: 21 1/8 x 15 3/8 in. (53.7 x 39.1 cm)
Image: 16 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (42.5 x 23.5 cm)

Object Number



Gaius Cestius, an official under Augustus Caesar, built his Egyptian-inspired tomb some time before 12 BC. As Rome expanded, the structure was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls. The monument was of great interest to Piranesi who made several different etchings of it from the 1740s on. This architectural study of a section through the pyramid appeared in a work, Le Antichita Romane, that Piranesi intended as a rigorous archaeological treatise. By carefully delineating the ancient monuments of Rome, he sought to preserve a record for scholars, while at the same time giving inspiration from the past to contemporary designers.
Le Antichita Romane (Volume III of Roman Antiquities)

Credit Line

Gift in honor of Catherine Howett Smith by the Carlos Museum staff


Travelers in an Antique Land: Artists and Ancient Egypt, Michael C. Carlos Museum, August 30, 2003 - January 11, 2004|
Discovering Rome: Maps and Monuments of the Eternal City, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 16, 2006 - January 14, 2007|
Antichità, Teatro, Magnificenza: Renaissance and Baroque Images of Rome, Michael C. Carlos Museum, August 24 - November 17, 2013
MCCM Newsletter, December 2002 - February 2003.|
Sarah McPhee, et al., Antichita, Teatro, Magnificenza: Renaissance & Baroque Images of Rome (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2013), 61 (checklist only).


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2010.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720 - 1778, “Vertical Section of the Pyramid of Caius Cestius,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 19, 2019,

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