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Art & Design

Giovanni Paolo Pannini, The Colosseum, ca. 1750, Museum Works of Art Fund

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Giovanni Paolo Pannini

The Colosseum

Giovanni Paolo Pannini
Italian, 1691-1765
ca. 1750
The Colosseum
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.

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