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Landscape with Ruins

Drawing on his training in painting, architecture, and stage design, Giovanni Paolo Panini found his niche as one of the eighteenth century’s most important vedute (view) painters. This early work is an example of a capriccio, a type of veduta that depicts an imaginary architectural scene. The colonnaded rotunda in the center of the composition appears to be loosely based on the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, a country retreat near Rome. The inclusion of ruins—whether real or imagined—in eighteenth-century vedute painting was inspired by new archaeological discoveries. Panini painted this scene around the time of the rediscovery of Herculaneum, a Roman city destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Giovanni Paolo Panini
Italian, 1691–1765
Landscape with Ruins
ca. 1715/18
Oil on canvas
29 x 39 3/8 in. (73.7 x 100 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Given in memory of Marguerite Lilly Noyes by Thomas T. Solley, 74.19.2