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

Departure of the Duc de Choiseul from the Piazza di San Pietro

Oil on canvas, 152 x 195 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

This large canvas was part of a series of five ordered from Pannini by Choiseul, French ambassador to the Holy See.

Choiseul has just had his initial papal audience with Benedict XIV. Leaving Bernini's colonnade, with the façade of St. Peter's in the background, the gilded ducal carriage leads a lengthy procession. This painting, among Pannini's most laboriously documentary scenes, combines a bird's-eye view with others, providing a costly, synoptic visual gospel of a major moment in eighteenth-century Franco-Roman piety and power.