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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 36. Rome, A View of the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine.

Property from a Private Collection

Giovanni Paolo Panini

Rome, A View of the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

Auction Closed

May 22, 04:23 PM GMT


400,000 - 600,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection

Giovanni Paolo Panini

Piacenza 1691 - 1765 Rome

Rome, A View of the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

signed and dated lower left on the step: I. P. P. 1734 

oil on canvas

canvas: 39 ⅛ by 53 ⅜ in.; 99.4 by 135.6 cm.

framed: 48 ½ by 62 ⅝ in.; 123.2 by 159.1 cm.

Probably acquired by Valentine Quin (1752-1824), later 1st Earl of Dunraven, during his Grand Tour in Italy in the 1770s;

Thence by descent and inheritance to Thady Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin (1939-2011), 7th Early of Dunraven and Mount Earl, Adare Manor, Limerick, Ireland;

From whom acquired by Herner Wengraf, London, 1972;

Anonymous sale, Rome, Finarte, 12 December 1973, lot 55;

Anonymous sale, ("Property of a Gentleman"), London, Sotheby's, 1 November 1978, lot 43;

Where acquired by Diddi Malek & Associates;

By whom sold via private sale, Sotheby's, London, to the present collector, 2018.

C. Whitfield, Views from the Grand Tour, exhibition catalogue, New York 1983, p. 64, cat. no. 33, reproduced;

F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini e i fasti della Roma del '700, Rome 1986, p. 343, cat. no. 224, reproduced;

F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini, Soncino 1991, p. 88, cat. no. 26, reproduced.

New York, Colnaghi, Views from the Grand Tour, 25 May - 30 June 1983, no. 33.

In this grand work by the foremost landscapist of eighteenth-century Rome, Panini depicts the city's most famous, and recognizable, monument. Signed with the artist's initials and dated 1734, the present work is the first of Panini's iconic depictions of the Flavian Amphitheater and an image not merely of the celebrated edifice, but also of classical civilization itself. Of Panini's twenty or more recorded paintings of the monument, no other work gives the magnificent building such singular focus. By concentrating on the amphitheater as the composition's central protagonist, Panini metaphorically emphasizes the Colosseum's importance within the annals of history.

Panini renders the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine with a degree of topographical fidelity that characterizes his vedute, or view paintings, of the 1730s. Depicted from the slopes of the Esquiline Hill, the composition is the artist's first depiction of the site to adopt this realistic approach. In this respect, the painting diverges from the artist's earlier, somewhat fantastical, renditions. In those capricci, executed in the 1720s, Panini illustrated the Colosseum in an imagined state of exaggerated dereliction. Here, instead, he populates the foreground with animated figures—perhaps tourists admiring the view—thereby imbuing the scene with a contemporary flavor. Their relative scale accentuates the structure's monumental nature, as does Panini's exclusion of the surrounding buildings.

The painter's treatment of the play of light on the building's curving edifice is particularly evocative in the present work. The shadows cast over much of the arena's left-hand side give the monument an impressive degree of three-dimensionality. Especially subtle is Panini's treatment of the building's complex tonal depths, evident in the detailing of the columns, their capitals, and the cornice's alternating recesses.