Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Italian (Roman), 1691–1765)


170.2 x 244.5 cm (67 x 96 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)





This extravagant souvenir was one of four similar paintings commissioned by the Duc de Choiseul to commemorate his stay in Rome as the French ambassador to the Vatican. Pannini, who became the most celebrated view painter in Rome, had been trained in a school of stage designers in Bologna. He depicted the duke seated in the center of a fantastic art gallery, surrounded by sculptures by Michelangelo and Bernini. Around him hang Pannini’s meticulously detailed views of Roman buildings, fountains, and monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Saint Peter’s Square, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.


Lower left, on face of block of stone, I. P A U L P A NINI. R O M A E; on edgeof stone: 1757


1757, Etienne François, Duc de Choiseul (b. 1719 - d. 1785), Paris (original commission) [see note 1]; 1792, sold by the Duc de Choiseul to Jacques-Donatien Le Ray (b. 1726 - d. 1803), Chaumont; by descent to his son, James Le Ray (b. 1760 - d. 1840), Chaumont and Otsego County, NY; by descent to his son-in-law, the Marquis de Gouvello; sold by Gouvello to William J. Davis; 1834, sold by Davis to the Boston Athenaeum [see note 2]; 1975, sold by the Boston Athenaeum to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1976)

[1] Information about the provenance of this painting is taken from Ferdinando Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini (Piacenza, 1961), pp. 211-212.

[2] See "The Descriptive Catalogue of the Four Magnificent Paintings of the Most Interesting Monuments of Ancient and Modern Rome" (exh. cat. Boston Athenaeum, 1834) and Mabel Munson Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, 1827-1873 (Boston, 1940), pp. 124-125. The picture was first lent to the MFA in 1876.

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund