Arnold Baruchson. Letter to the Secretary of the Manchester Exhibition. January 22, 1857, states that he is willing to lend his paintings by Panini, "Ancient Rome" and "Modern Rome" [the present work and its pendant], to the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857 and notes that these works were executed in 1757 for the duc de Choisseul [sic for Choiseul].
Illustrated Catalogue of the Third Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters . . . Paris, 1896, p. 92, no. 73, ill., states that this picture and its pendant were painted for the duc de Choiseul and "sold after his death in Paris in 1786; afterwards in the Collections of Casimir Perier, Alex. [sic for Arnold] Baruchson, and A. Murray".
W. G. Constable. Letter to Elizabeth Gardner. April 15, 1952, notes that a group of four pictures, including an "Ancient Rome" and a "Modern Rome," were commissioned from Panini by the duc de Choiseul and purchased in the nineteenth century by the Boston Atheneum; provides subsequent provenance for these pictures.
"The First Imaginary Museum." Art News 52 (March 1953), pp. 28–29, 64, ill., identify the monuments in these pictures and note that "neither patron nor artist romanticized the ruins; everything was pedantically copied from life".
Emily Genauer. "One-Picture Gallery." Herald Tribune [Sunday Magazine] (July 12, 1953), p. 10.
Emilio Lavagnino. Il Settecento a Roma. Exh. cat.Rome, 1959, p. 168, catalogues an autograph variant of "Modern Rome," dated 1757 and lent to this exhibition by the Boston Athenaeum [it is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]; states that it was commissioned in 1756 by the duc de Choiseul and that its pendant, "Ancient Rome," is in the collection of the Earl of Ellesmere [now Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart]; mentions our pictures as replicas of this pair with slight variations, and certainly also commissioned by Choiseul; observes that another set of replicas with more extensive variations is in the Louvre, Paris.
Ferdinando Arisi. Gian Paolo Panini. Piacenza, 1961, pp. 83 n. 55, 103, 212, 214–15, no. 249, 270–71, states that Panini produced three versions of "Ancient Rome" and "Modern Rome"; calls the MMA pictures repetitions with variations of the works in Stuttgart and Boston commissioned from Panini in 1756 by the duc de Choiseul, and part of a series with a "View of St. Peter's Square in Rome" (Ellesmere collection) and the "Interior of St. Peter's" (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); suggests that the MMA canvases came from the collection of Hubert Robert who perhaps took part in their execution; considers the figure behind the armchair to be a self-portrait of the artist, while the duc de Choiseul is represented with a book in his left hand and a walking stick in his right; mentions three preparatory drawings for the MMA "Ancient Rome" in the British Museum: one of a youth seen from behind in the center of the composition (f.130), another for the figure of a youth next to the artist's self-portrait (f.131), and a third study for the likeness of the duc de Choiseul (f.136).
Carlo Pietrangeli. "Ricordo romano di un ambasciatore di Francia." Capitolium 36 (May 1961), p. 15.
Estella Brunetti. "Il Panini e la monografia di F. Arisi." Arte antica e moderna 25 (January–March 1964), pp. 176, 182, establishes that Monsignor de Canillac is the protagonist of the pendants in the Louvre.
Federico Zeri and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Unpublished manuscript. [ca. 1970–80], state that this picture and its pendant were commissioned by the duc de Choiseul, who is depicted in the center of the present composition with a guide book, apparently of Rome, in his left hand, while the artist is shown half-length behind a chair; call the MMA pendants repetitions with variations of the examples in Stuttgart and Boston commissioned from Panini in 1756 by the duc de Choiseul; point out that autograph replicas of these paintings along with a "View of St. Peter's Square in Rome" (Ellesmere collection) belonged to Panini's pupil, Hubert Robert, and consider it likely that two of these are identifiable with the MMA pictures; mention later versions of these paintings dated 1758 and 1759, now in the Louvre, Paris; identify the monuments represented here.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 156–57, 498, 608.
Linda Boyer Gillies. "An Eighteenth–Century Roman View: Panini's Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 30 (February/March 1972), p. 184, identifies them as the second set of pendants made by Panini, calling calling the Boston picture and its pendant in Stuttgart primary, and the pair in the Louvre the latest.
Barbara Scott. "The duc de Choiseul: A Minister in the Grand Manner." Apollo (January 1973), pp. 43–44, ill., as painted for the duc de Choiseul.
Ian Kennedy in Christie's Review of the Season 1976. New York, 1976, p. 48.
Leger Galleries. Exhibition of Old Master Paintings. 1977, unpaginated, calls them "variants of the original . . . later versions [of the Stuttgart/Boston pair] with rearrangements of the principal figures, and probably collaborations with Hubert Robert," who was working in Panini's studio at that time.
Ferdinando Arisi. Gian Paolo Panini e i fasti della Roma del '700. Rome, 1986, pp. 173–74 n. 98, 179–181, 464–65, 467, no. 474, ill. (overall and details).
Ferdinando Arisi. Gian Paolo Panini. Soncino, 1991, p. 29, considers it practically impossible to specify the degree to which Hubert Robert worked on these scenes.
Peter Galassi. Corot in Italy: Open-Air Painting and the Classical-Landscape Tradition. New Haven, 1991, pp. 85–86, ill., mentions this work in relation to the tradition of picture-postcard displays.
Michael Kiene. Pannini. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 1992, p. 145.
Ferdinando Arisi in Giovanni Paolo Panini, 1691–1765. Exh. cat., Palazzo Gotico. Milan, 1993, p. 116.
JoLynn Edwards. Alexandre-Joseph Paillet: Expert et marchand de tableaux à la fin du XVIIIe siècle. Paris, 1996, pp. 192–93, 325, 330, ill. p. 194.
Eliot W. Rowlands. The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Italian Paintings, 1300–1800. Kansas City, Mo., 1996, p. 409, notes that while the exact function of these works "remains a mystery," they may have served as advertisements for views the artist could produce upon request.
David R. Marshall in The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe, 1600–1750. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Milan, 1999, pp. 426–27, ill. [Italian ed., I trionfi del Barocco: architettura in Europa, 1600–1750, with same pagination, 1999], states that two sets of four paintings were commissioned from Panini by the duc de Choiseul; judging from the provenance, believes the MMA pair formed a set with the "Exterior of St. Peter's" in Berlin and the "Interior of St. Peter's" in Washington, and that this was the set owned by Hubert Robert; questions Arisi's identification of the figure behind the chair in this picture as a self-portrait; notes that only some of the images represented in the paintings existed as independent compositions by the artist.
Edgar Peters Bowron in Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2000, p. 427.
Laura Laureati et al. in Il Settecento a Roma. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2005, pp. 78, 86, 250–52, no. 148, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Elizabeth A. Pergam. "From Manchester to Manhattan: The Transatlantic Art Trade After 1857." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 87, no. 2 (2005), pp. 82, 86, 91, includes the pair among Baroque paintings bought by the MMA, stating that although the two pictures "might be considered examples of neoclassical Capriccio aimed at the eighteenth-century English Grand Tourist . . . , their scale and 'horror vacui' place them firmly within late baroque sensibility".
Edgar Peters Bowron in Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2011, p. 69, no. 22, ill. (color).