Giovanni Paolo Pannini
Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian, The Colosseum, ca. 1750, Oil on canvas; 41.3 x 74.6 cm (16 1/4 x 29 3/8 inches), Museum Works of Art Fund 56.094
Throughout the 18th century expansive compositions known as vedute (views) were much in demand as souvenirs of travel and as symbols of their owner’s sophistication. Many voyagers collected engravings of the capitals they visited, or sought paintings of famous sites for their art collections. The glories of ancient Rome, such as the Colosseum, were particularly desirable subjects for those who had participated in an educational “Grand Tour” of Europe. The setting of the Colosseum, the largest of Rome’s imperial monuments, was still relatively uncompromised by the modern city that would later surround it. Giovanni Paolo Pannini represents the great stadium as the dramatic feature of a bucolic landscape in which a tourist might well have encountered a shepherd and his flock.