Gian Paolo Panini

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Gian Paolo Panini
1691 or 1692-1765
Piazza San Pietro and the Vatican Palace
ca. 1759-1762
Pen and brown and black ink, watercolor and opaque watercolor over black chalk.
9 5/8 x 6 9/16 inches (245 x 166 mm)
Thaw Collection.

Watermark: none visible through lining.
Panini was the foremost Roman painter of real and imaginary architectural views, and his many images of Rome are our best guide to the city's appearance in the eighteenth century. He painted the basilica and piazza of St. Peter many times, but the present watercolor differs from Panini's other known depictions of the piazza in that the view is taken from beneath the colonnade, looking toward the Vatican Palace, rather than toward the facade of the basilica. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"
Pierre-Jean Mariette sometimes added handwritten captions on the mounts of drawings. He believed, as did other collectors, that understanding the subject of a composition was crucial to enjoying and appreciating a drawing fully. The Latin inscription, which translates "Waiting under the colonnades of Saint Peter's Square," clarifies the location of this scene. Mariette collected works by contemporary artists as well as drawings by old masters. He owned over thirty drawings by Panini, who was a member of the French Academy in Rome and who influenced a generation of French draftsmen. -- Exhibition Label, from "Pierre-Jean Mariette and the Art of Collecting Drawings."


Inscribed in pen and brown ink on eighteenth-century mount, "J.P. Pannini", and in pen and black ink, "Sub porticibus S.u [u superscript] Petri plateam amplectentibus".

Pierre-Jean Mariette (Lugt 1852 or 2097 and 2859 without cartouche); sale, Monte Carlo, Christie's Monaco, 20 June 1994, no. 4, repr.; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.
Associated names: 

Mariette, Pierre Jean, 1694-1774, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.


The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 282, repr.
The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and Oil Sketches : Acquisitions since 1994. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 2002, no. 12, repr.

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