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“Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome” by Giovanni Paolo Panini

"Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini

“Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome” by Giovanni Paolo Panini

“Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome” by Giovanni Paolo Panini is the name given to each of three almost identical paintings by the celebrated Italian artists in the 1750s.

The picture gallery consists of a large number of paintings of buildings, monuments, and sculptures in Rome 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 original painting shows the arrangement commissioned by the Count of Stainville. He was the ambassador to Rome from between 1753 and 1757.

In the painting, the Count is seated in an armchair. Around him hang Pannini’s meticulously detailed views of Roman buildings, fountains, and monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Panini created two versions of the original painting for the Count of Stainville. Today, the first version is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,  and the second version is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

On the left side of the composition are paintings of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. On the right side are depictions of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Piazza Navona, and Villa Aldobrandini.

In the middle are four statues, which are the Medici lion, Michelangelo’s Moses, Bernini’s statue of David, and Bernini’s statue of Apollo and Daphne.

A couple of years later, he created a slightly different version of this painting for a different client, which now hangs at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

"Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini

The Louvre version, commissioned by a different client in 1759

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.

"Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini

The Metropolitan Museum of Art version similar to the original

Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

Giovanni Paolo Panini

A Virtual Tour of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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 (]

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