Giovanni Paolo Panini Giovanni Paolo Panini

Giovanni Paolo Panini

1692 Piacenza - Rom 1765


 Oil on wood panels

« Two Capricci with Ruins and Figures »

One marked: « DIV.../AVGVST »

measurements: 52cm x 139cm w. fr.

With the names of Giovanni Paolo Panini and his followers we associate paintings of ruins, the proto-romantic, melancholy images of deserted and derelict buildings in parks which leave you thinking about transitoriness, but which also may glorify the past. Mostly there are figures around, indulging in some quiet activity – sheperds with livestock, women washing at a brook, wanderers resting, sometimes a tryst. Panini was the foremost painter of this school, seminal in all of Europe. The sizes of the paintings can be unusual, like narrow portrait formats here, as they were meant for decorative purposes, not as the main piece, the pièce de résistance on a large wall.

The oblique view from below is very much fitting for this kind of format, resulting in  a dynamic image. The buildings in the park-like surroundings are derelict arches and narrow pyramids or obelisks, conjuring up a splendid, powerful, and great past, almost automatically reminding you of Shelley's "Ozymandias", the epitome of a poem on past glory.

But the mild afternoon light and the slight haze strike a harmonious chord for the scenes.

  zoom image