At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Giovanni Paolo Panini – artist

Painter who preserved scenes of Rome


Giovanni Paolo Panini, in a portrait by  Louis Gabriel Blanchet
Giovanni Paolo Panini, in a portrait by
Louis Gabriel Blanchet 
Giovanni Paolo Panini, an artist mainly known for his views of Rome, was born on this day in 1691 in Piacenza.

He is particularly remembered for his view of the interior of the Pantheon, commissioned by the Venetian collector, Francesco Algarotti, in around 1734.

The Pantheon was as much a tourist attraction in Panini’s day as it is today and Panini manipulated the proportions and perspective to include more of the interior that is actually visible from any one vantage point.

Indeed, many of his works, especially those of ruins, have slightly unreal embellishment. He sought to meet the needs of visitors for painted postcards depicting scenes of Italy and his clients were often happy with minor distortions of reality if it meant they could show off a unique picture. 

As a young man, Panini trained in his native town of Piacenza. He moved to Rome where he studied drawing. His work was to influence other painters, such as Canaletto, who resolved to do for Venice what Panini had done for Rome and, of course, enjoyed enormous fame and success.

Panini's view of the inside of the Pantheon  typified his use of manipulated perspective
Panini's view of the inside of the Pantheon
typified his use of manipulated perspective 
Much in demand, Panini also became famous as the decorator of Roman palaces. He was hailed for his frescoes at the Villa Patrizi, painted between 1719–1725. He was also noted for his work at the Palazzo de Carolis (1720), and the Seminario Romano (1721–1722).

He also painted some portraits, including one of Pope Benedict XIV.

Panini taught in Rome at the Accademia di San Luca and the Académie de France. From 1754, he served as the principal of the Accademia di San Luca.

His use of perspective was later the inspiration for the Panini projection, which was instrumental in displaying panoramic views.  He was professor of perspective at the Académie de France.

He died in Rome on 21 October 1765 at the age of 74.

Travel tip:

The Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda in Rome is considered to be Rome’s best preserved ancient building. It was built in AD 118 on the site of a previous building dating back to 27 BC. It was consecrated as a church in the seventh century and many important people are buried there, including Victor Emmanuel II, his son, Umberto I, and his wife, Queen Margherita.

Canaletto's Grande Veduta of the Grand Canal is on display at Ca' Rezzonico
Canaletto's Grande Veduta of the Grand Canal is
on display at Ca' Rezzonico
Travel tip:

Many of Canaletto’s paintings of Venice are in museums and private collections around the world, particularly in England and the United States, A small number are on display in Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice, a palace on the Grand Canal, open to tourists.



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