Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Gallery of Views of Ancient and Modern Rome, 1758, Musée du Louvre, Paris
In the Gallery of Views of Ancient Rome and its pendant Gallery of Views of Modern Rome, Pannini offers the viewer two imaginary museums assembling in one case the most glorious ruins of ancient Rome, and in the other the masterpieces of modern Rome. The art of ancient Rome is shown as a boundless source of inspiration and innovation for modern artists.
Giovanni Paolo Pannini - Interior of the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, 1750s, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
The painting belongs to a series, painted around 1730, depicting the interior of the great churches in Rome. The painting rperesenting the interior of St Peter’s is also in The Hermitage, while those depicting the San Giovanni in Laterano and San Giovanni fuori le Mura are in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi - Carceri (The Prisons)
The Prisons (Carceri d’invenzione or ‘Imaginary Prisons’), is a series of 16 prints produced in first and second states that show enormous subterranean vaults with stairs and mighty machines.
These in turn influenced Romanticism and Surrealism. While the Vedutisti (or “view makers”) such as Canaletto and Bellotto, more often reveled in the beauty of the sunlit place, in Piranesi this vision takes on, what from our perspective could be called a Kafkaesque, Escher-like distortion, seemingly erecting fantastic labyrinthian structures, epic in volume. They are capricci, whimsical aggregates of monumental architecture and ruin.
Giovanni Paolo Pannini - Architectural Capriccio, 1730
This architectural capriccio depicts Roman ruins and the statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback with a soldier returning, other soldiers and figures nearby. An array of ruins from the Roman Forum (including the Temple of Minerva Medica in the left background) are superimposed with other identifiable structures, such as Trajan’s column and an Egyptian obelisk, and certain elements, such as the marble relief lower left and the statues of Marcus Aurelius and the Farnese Hercules, reappear in numerous compositions by the artist.
Pannini specialised in painting vedute, many of which were imaginary (capricci), and he differed from contemporary painters such as Bellotto and Vanvitelli, whose accurately described views contrast with his picturesque approach to topography. This extraordinary view is a fine and characteristic example of the type of picture for which Pannini became famous. The painting is signed and dated lower centre.
Giovanni Paolo Panini or Pannini (17 June 1691 – 21 October 1765) was a painter and architect, who worked in Rome and is mainly known as one of the vedutisti (“view painters”). As a painter, Panini is best known for his vistas of Rome, in which he took a particular interest in the city’s antiquities. Among his most famous works are his view of the interior of the Pantheon and his vedute—paintings of picture galleries containing views of Rome. Most of his works, specially those of ruins, have a fanciful and unreal embellishment characteristic of capriccio themes. Panini also painted portraits, including one of Pope Benedict XIV. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Paolo_Panini