Ancient Rome

Giovanni Paolo Panini Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627

Ancient Rome is a pendant to Modern Rome (on view nearby) and catalogs some of the city’s most famous monuments. Guidebooks and writings on art in the 1700s typically contrasted ancient and modern works in order to draw out their strengths and weaknesses. Like luxurious postcards, the paintings depicted here in miniature present a condensed itinerary of must-see sights. The comte de Stainville (later the duc de Choiseul), the French ambassador to Rome who commissioned this pair of canvases, appears at the center holding a guidebook; Panini included himself behind the chair. The Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, and the Laocoön are among the sites depicted. To see a full list of the monuments represented, visit this object’s record at The Met website.

Ancient Rome, Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome), Oil on canvas

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