Panini glorified Rome in countless views of its monuments and in fanciful landscapes where imagined ruins are shown in the proximity of identifiable sights. This view of the interior of Saint Peter's basilica is one of about thirty versions Panini executed for his large, cosmopolitan clientele. This painting shows Bernini’s famous additions to Saint Peter’s—the baldachin and Chair of Saint Peter—along with some of the sculpture and monuments that were added to the interior in the eighteenth century. Amusingly, the artist has introduced many figures caught in the act of looking at the architecture, so that the viewer is, in a fashion, invited to join them in their exploration of this vast space.
Artist Giovanni Paolo Panini, Italian, 1691-1765
  • Interior of St. Peter's, Rome
Date 1750
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 52 1/4 × 57 5/16 inches (132.7 × 145.6 cm)
Framed: 64 × 68 1/4 × 5 inches (162.6 × 173.4 × 12.7 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Mrs. Edgar R. Thom
Accession Number 56.43
Department European Painting
On View European: Grand Tour of Italy-Rome, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed and dated, at bottom of left column: I. P. PANINI/ROMAE/1750
the artist, Giovanni Paolo Panini;
1750, purchased by William Holbech for (Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, England);
by descent to Ronald H. A. Holbech (Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, England);
August 1929, purchased by (Savile Gallery Ltd., London, England);
1930-1935, purchased by (Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, New York, USA);
after 1935, (Seligmann, Rey & Co., New York, New York, USA);
by 1949, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar R. Thom (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA);
1956-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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