Giovanni Paolo Panini Essay -924 Words - Essay Prowess

Giovanni Paolo Panini Essay -924 Words


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Giovanni Paolo Panini

Giovanni Paolo Panini was born in Piacenza, Italy and trained as an artist under the guidance of Giuseppe Natali and Andrea Galluzzi (Jewett 2). Francesco Galli-Bibiena a stage designer also served as a mentor to Panini. Nicolas Pousssin established the French academy dedicated for study of the Arts and humanities. Gian Paolo Panini, a great artist was a follower of the traditions cultured at this academic institution in Rome, Italy (Jewett 2). He was a renowned view painter but he also painted portraits and stage designs. His mostly recognized for paintings those depicting the present and future views of Rome at that time. He also did portraits of famous individuals such as that of Pope Benedict XIV which secured him a place in Art History. Most of his works were bought by the proletariats of both France and Italy. His themes were mostly the style and class in the aristocratic classes of Rome and the art academies of Rome.

The social classes that admired his works are inheritors of the classical traditions and cultures in both Greece and Rome. His works were always full of ironic realism and in many times very imaginative brilliance (Panini). For instance, his paintings of the ruins of Rome are so popular because of his views of the ruins created in exquisite, delicate and distinct features. Other painters who had an impact on Panini include Gaspar Van Wittel, from Roman arts. Van did drawings of nature especially original view sites; this later earned him the title “the painter of modern Europe”. Panini’s most works were commissioned by foreign governments for instance the canvas painting representing the festivities in the Piza di Spagna was used by the Spanish ambassador in 1727 (Jewett 122).

He had many ties with the French, depicted in his paintings of the Scalinata, the monumental architectural complex of the church, the summit hill of the hill and the Tinita dei Monti. All these were paid for by the French government. In the 17th Century, Rome’s population was increasing rapidly and the demolished aqueduct were repaired and modified (Jewett 122). The major additional feature was the Barcaccia, which formed the new outlet to the aqueduct. The Barcaccia is associated with the Barberini pope, Urban VIII.

The pope entrusted many projects to Panini among them the execution of the monumental Baldachino in St.Peter’s and the design of the pope’s own temple. The Barcacci represented the power of the pope as well as spirit of Counter Reformation and military skill of catholic forces. The water flowing from the Barcacci was associated with the warlike purposes as during the same time, many catholic troops were winning battles in Spain, France, and Northern Europe. A second important feature of Roman origin appearing in Panini’s work was the Scalinata. The Scalinata was built almost a century after the Barcaccia despite having formulations made as early as the 16th century under the leadership of Pope Gregory XIII (Jewett 129). Its delay is attributed to lack of funds; the main construction however began in 1660 when a French diplomat in his will left 20,000 “scud”, or a large amount of money for its construction. The painting was faced with major controversies with Pope Alessandro VII against the construction of the French king’s statute in it. Nevertheless, after his death, the king’s statute was constructed. However, almost half of the 17th century was referred to as the period of civil construction. Major paintings such as the Santa Maria Maggiore and the san Giovanni Laterano were completed (Wandel 55). The Scalinata was eventually completed in the year1725 and became an adorable attraction for many Romans and foreign tourists alike. Panini made paintings of Saint Paul and the beggar’s common tin in the Catholic Church depicting the existing social classes at that time (Jewett 132).

Panini used metropolitan water colors in many of his paintings of either modern Rome or ancient Rome (Panini). The “Rome Moderna” was commissioned by Duc de Choisel and is now found in the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, the Scalinata is observable in it (Wandel 57). The second pair, bearing the Scalinata also found in the Metropolitan museum has the Scalinata on the left-hand side of the Duke (Wandel 67). Many of Panini’s works have similarities with museum drawings.

Ancient Rome was a civilization sustained by a small agricultural community, the Etruscans. The Etruscans originated from the Italian peninsula in the early 10th B.C (Wandel 67). Roman civilization moved from a monarch republic to an oligarchy republic and later on to an autocratic empire. Panini’s work was based around the autocratic empire and most of his drawings indicate aristocratic class and the poor in the society.

Panini’s view of both modern and ancient Rome are indicated below

The drawings indicate a remarkable contrast between the heroic poses or the aristocratic classes and the humble lives of the lower classes.

In conclusion, Panini’s works have inspired many people, among them the Indians especially in their mithila culture. The mithila painting forms one of the living creatures of Indian origin. It is done on paper, cloth and readymade materials by women form the village of Mithila. Many women use the same water colors used in ancient Panini drawings. His paintings have also inspired many people and led to the setting up of the American Academy in Rome, a school which specializes in teaching students humanities and art.

Work Cited

Jewett, Frank. A History of Italian painting. New York: Routledge. 1998.

Panini, Giovanni, Paolo. Modern Rome (Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome).2014. Web. 16 Jul. 2014. <>

Wandel, Lee Palmer. The Reformation: towards a new history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2011.