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Tornabuoni Arte

D065
GIAN PAOLO PANINI
Architectural caprice with the Theater of Marcellus
Piacenza, 1691-Rome, 1765
Oil on canvas
cm. 37,5x124


Probably intended as decoration above a door, as suggested by the elongated horizontal format, this caprice features a series of personalities in various attitudes, among ancient monuments and ruins. The composition centers on a group with a personality in academic pose, duly draped, who is playing with a black dog that forms an expertly rendered chromatic contrast to his body, which is bathed in light. An enormous, circular construction is visible in the background; it may be identified as the Theater of Marcellus. The author of this canvas is the famous Gian Paolo Panini, one of the greatest interpreters of the Eighteenth-century landscape and caprice. Originally from Piacenza, the painter arrived in Rome at an age of about twenty. After his apprenticeship with Benedetto Luti he soon became a known figure in the local artistic scene, succeeding in conquering a very important position in the Roman artistic context, and a fame that went beyond the borders, with his original architectural caprices (A.M. Rybko, in La pittura in Italia. Il Settecento, Milano, 1989, II, pages 818-819, p. 818). Ferdinando Arisi, author of the monumental monograph on the Piacenza-born painter, confirming the full authorship, suggests a dating to around 1755. The researcher points out the relationships with the Ruins with the Pyramid of Cestia that is part of the Neuber collection (F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini e i fasti della Roma del 700, Roma, 1986, no. 452, p. 455) and underscores the attentive dedication to animated points, realized with the vivacity of the best moments and the efficiently concise language, concluding that the hand of Panini is recognizable in every part. Other interesting analogies may be found with the group of above-door panels published by the same author (cit., 1986, numbers 481-484), one of which feature, with some modifications, the same composition as this canvas (no. 482).



Tornabuoni Arte