“Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art” by Giovanni Paolo Panini
“Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art” is the title given to each of three almost identical paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini. The paintings were produced as pendant paintings to “Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome.”
This imaginary picture gallery consists of a large number of paintings of buildings, monuments, and sculptures from Ancient Rome, which were viewable during the time that Panini painted this painting.
It is not a depiction of an actual gallery but rather an extravagant souvenir commissioned by the French ambassador to the Vatican to commemorate his stay in Rome. The Count of Stainville ordered them. He was the ambassador to Rome from between 1753 and 1757.
The paintings depict many of the most significant architectural sites of ancient Rome, such as the Colosseum, Trajan’s column, and the Pantheon.
The three versions of “Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art,” in order of creation, are located in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre in Paris.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre each hold a version of Panini’s companion piece, “Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome.”
Both the artist, Panini, and the patron Stainville are featured in the painting. Stainville is standing, while Panini appears behind Stainville’s armchair.
In the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Staatsgalerie Stuttgart version Stainville is standing holding a guidebook. In the Louvre version, he is wearing his official ceremonial dress and not holding a handbook.
Metropolitan Museum of Art version
In art, a pendant is one of two paintings, statues, or other types of works of art intended as a pair. Typically, pendants are related thematically to each other and are displayed nearby.
Pendants may be the creation of one artist alone or be the product of two artists and have, in that case, sometimes a competitive edge.
Many historic pendants have become separated over the years.
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart version
Giovanni Paolo Panini
Giovanni Paolo Panini, or Pannini (1691 – 1765), was a painter and architect who worked in Rome and is primarily known of his vedutisti (“view painters”).
Among his most famous works is his view of the interior of the Pantheon, and his vedute—paintings of picture galleries containing views of Rome. Most of his works, especially those of ruins, have a fanciful and unreal embellishment characteristic of imagined architectural themes.
Panini’s style influenced other vedutisti, such as Antonio Joli, Canaletto, and Bernardo Bellotto. They all sought to meet the need of visitors for painted “postcards” depicting the Italian monuments and views.
Some British landscape painters, such as Marlow, Skelton, and Wright of Derby, also imitated his architectural depictions.
Gallery of Views of Ancient Rome
- Title: Gallery of Views of Ancient Rome
- Artist: Giovanni Paolo Panini
- Year: 1754 -1758
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Museum: Louvre Museum, 1758, Dimensions Height: 2.3 m (90.9 in); Width: 3 m (119.2 in) – (the last version created and the top picture above)
- Museum: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY., 1757, Height: 1,721 mm (67.75 in); Width: 2,299 mm (90.51 in)
- Museum: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 1754-1757, Height: 186 cm (73.2 in); Width: 227 cm (89.3 in) – (First version created)
Giovanni Paolo Panini
- Name: Giovanni Paolo Panini
- Born: 1691, Piacenza, Duchy of Parma, Holy Roman Empire
- Died: 1765 (aged 74), Rome, Papal States (now Italy)
- Nationality: Italian
- Notable Works
Giovanni Paolo Panini: A collection of 134 paintings
“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
– Giotto di Bondone
Photo Credit: 1) Giovanni Paolo Panini [Public domain] 2) Nono vlf [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]