Roman Capriccio: The Pantheon and other Monuments

Giovanni-Paolo Pannini

Plaisance, 1692 – Rome, 1765

Oil on canvas
100 x 147,5 cm
MNR 301 and P. 383
On indefinite loan from the Louvre, 1954
© Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet

Giovanni-Paolo Pannini - Ruines à l'obélisque ©Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet

Information

Trained in Bologna by the landscape artist Ferdinando Bibiena (1657-1743), Pannini was initiated into the rules and artifices of architectural perspective. He became the painter of festivals and official ceremonies in Rome, and made ruined landscapes fashionable. He approached his work neither as an archaeologist nor a topographer, but rather with the free-thinking vision of a stage director. Beneath a realistic surface, playing with history and geography, he reinvented a fictional Rome blending classic and modern architecture. Here we can see the Pantheon flanked by the statue of the Satyr at rest, the statue of Marcus Aurelius, and the arcades of the Villa Madame. In the forefront, as if on a stage, several stories are playing out between characters who bring life to the stone.

Giovanni-Paolo Pannini - Ruines à l'obélisque ©Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet