- Thomas Struth
- Pantheon, Rome
signed, titled, dated 1993 and numbered 10/10 on the reverse
- Cibachrome print
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Providence, Brown University, List Art Center, David Winton Bell Gallery, The Rome Studio, 1993, p. 43, illustrated in color (another example exhibited)
Boston, The Institute of Contemporary Art; London, Institute of Contemporary Art; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Thomas Struth: Strangers and Friends, Photographs 1986-1992, January 1994 - April 1995, pp. 10-11, illustrated in color (another example exhibited)
Seattle, University of Washington, Henry Art Gallery, After Art: Rethinking 150 Years of Photography, December 1994 - March 1995, p. 89, illustrated in color (another example exhibited)
Bonn, Kunstmuseum, Thomas Struth Strassen Fotografie 1976 bis 1995, July - September 1995, p. 111, illustrated in color (another example exhibited)
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, On the Edge: Contemporary Art from the Werner and Elaine Dannheisser Collection, September 1997 - January 1998, p. 129, illustrated in color (another example exhibited)
Dallas Museum of Art; Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Struth, May 2002 - May 2003, p. 119, illustrated in color
Executed in 1990, Pantheon is an extension of Struth's celebrated "Museum Series" in which the photographer documented museum goers in the act of viewing iconic works of art in cultural institutions throughout the world. Like his mentors, Bernd and Hilla Becher, architecture figures as a central theme in Struth's practice, as reflected in the present work and in similar photographs of Milan Cathedral and Notre Dame.
In Pantheon, Struth records the rich architectural detail of this ancient structure, describing the subtle veining of the marble interior, the corrugated texture of columns and the faceted, geometric regularity of the coffering in a way that is, "almost hyper real in intensity, specificity and clarity of detail." (A. Goldstein in Exh. Cat. Dallas, Museum of Art, Thomas Struth 1977-2002, 2002, p. 167) Epic in scale, the ambitious size of the photograph corresponds to both the iconic status and monumental grandeur of the structure itself, serving to convey the affective, psychological and phenomenological dimension of encountering the soaring proportions of the space and its storied legacy. With his lens, Struth succeeds in communicating a sense of being engulfed, indeed swallowed, by the sheer vastness of the Pantheon's cavernous interior.
Unlike the Bechers, Struth is not interested in his architectural subjects as static, hermetic entities, but as charged, animated spaces where complex social dynamics play out and reveal themselves. Contemplating the impact of globalization and mass tourism, Struth probes the ways in which these macro-level phenomena have irrevocably altered the public's relationship to the structure over time. Structures that once functioned as the spiritual center of a local community now serve as five-minute stopovers on the whirlwind itineraries of global travelers. Concerned with the personal as well as the public aspects of these encounters, Struth's photographs also document the various ways that individuals experience and respond to these spaces on a personal level. Part architectural description, part anthropological inquiry, Pantheon underscores the rich, multivalent subtext of Struth's practice. As he explains, "for me, making a photograph is mostly an intellectual process of understanding people or cities and their historical and phenomenological connections." (Thomas Struth cited in A. Goldstein, p. 171)