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Giovanni Paolo Panini, Italian, 1691Ė1765
Interior of St. Peterís, Rome, 1731
oil on canvas
57 3/8 x 89 7/8 inches
Museum Purchase 7:1946

Giovanni Paolo Panini (joe-VON-ee PAWL-o Pa-NEE-nee) produced more than twenty versions of this painting showing the interior of St. Peterís Basilica in Rome. Because they were so portable, paintings that could be rolled up and carried home were in high demand among tourists who visited Italy in the eighteenth century. This painting accurately records the appearance of the church in almost every detail. Panini used light and a low horizon line to draw attention to the central area. He peopled the grand interior with animated figures, allowing the painting to become a view of everyday life that tourists would have seen when visiting the famous church.

For younger students:
How many people do you see in the painting? Describe what they are doing.
Name some geometric shapes you see throughout the building.

For older students:
What kind of building is this? What was it used for?
When you visit a special place, how do you remember it?

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