PANNINI, Giovanni Paolo
(b. 1691, Piacenza, d. 1765, Roma)

Architectural Capriccio

Oil on canvas, 99 x 135 cm
Private collection

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.