Montag, 27. April 2015

The Pantheon

Recently I was working with some old Italian architecture books and also I discovered an extraordinary Webpage in Bern dealing with the Pantheon...

The Bern Digital Pantheon Project. Plates
von Gerd Graßhoff, Michael Heinzelmann, Nikolaos Theocharis, Markus Wäfler (eds.)
Mit modernster Laservermessungstechnik wurde von einer interdisziplinären Forschergruppe der Universität Bern das Gebäude des Pantheon in Rom von innen und außen vollständig digitalisiert. Mehr als eine halbe Milliarde Messpunkte erfassen die Position und Farbwerte der Gebäudeoberfläche. Das Bern Digital Pantheon Model integriert diese Messungen zu einer virtuellen Ansicht des Gebäudes. Der vorliegende Band zeigt in einer Bilddokumentation ganz neuen Typs verschiedene Quer- und Grundschnitte, die in ihrer eigentümlichen Ästhetik bislang ungesehene Einblicke in die Gebäudearchitektur bieten
Gerd Graßhoff, Michael Heinzelmann, Nikolaos Theocharis, Markus Wäfler (eds.)
The Bern Digital Pantheon Project. Plates
LIT Verlag, 2009. 208  S.
ISBN: 9783825819644

die Originalseite von Bern scheint irgendwelche Serverprobleme zu haben oder ist wieder im Nirvana des WWW verschwunden, hier noch ein Echo

das Projekt hat nun eine Bleibe in Berlin gefunden im Rahmen des Topoi Clusters

In October 2010 the Bern Digital Pantheon Project has moved to Berlin and is now part of the Excellence Cluster Topoi (
The Bern Digital Pantheon Project was originally instigated in 2005 by Gerd Graßhoff as a pilot project of the Karman Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Bern, Switzerland, hence its name. In October 2010 the project has moved to Berlin and is now continued within the cluster of excellence "Topoi" ( which is devoted to the study of the formation and transformation of space and knowledge in ancient civilizations.
The projects first objective was to undertake the long-overdue architectural survey of one of the most important buildings in the history of architecture. Accordingly, the interior and exterior of the Pantheon were measured in two campaigns in 2005 and 2007 using state-of-the-art laser scan technology.

Interno del Pantheon. Kupferstich von G. Cottafavi, 18473

Here a first redish Rendering of Panini's Interior view.


First a later version from ca 1734, Oil on Canvas. The dome et all seems larger than in his first

version, which has been offered at Sotheby's New York Jan. 29, 2015... what a lucky buyer, a magnificent painting. They say :

Giovanni Paolo Panini  PIACENZA 1691 - 1765 ROME
signed with initials and dated at the foot of the column lower right: I.P.P. 1732
oil on canvas
46 7/8 by 38 3/4  in.; 119 by 98.4 cm.
Estimate USD 3,000,0005,000,000                                                                
LOT SOLD. 5,317,000 USD


Perry B. Cott, Chief Curator of the National Gallery, Washington, 1956-69;
With Agnew's, London, by 1972;
With Wildenstein, New York;
From whom acquired by a private collector in 1973;
By whom anonymously sold, London, Christie's, 9 July 1999, lot 79, where acquired by the present owner.


H. Olsen, Italian Paintings and Sculptures in Denmark, Copenhagen 1960, p. 20;
F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini, Piacenza 1961, p. 145, cat. no. 92, reproduced fig. 145 (with incorrect provenance and as dated 1734);
E. Brunetti, 'Il Panini e la monografia di F. Arisi', in Arte Antica e Moderna, XXVI, April-June 1964, p. 182;
Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's & Parke-Bernet 1968-1969, London, p. 80, illustrated in color;
F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini e i fasti della Roma del '700, Rome 1986, p. 340, cat. no. 219 reproduced (with incorrect provenance and as dated 1734);
F. Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini, Soncino 1991, p. 86 under cat. n° 25;
F. Arisi, Giovanni Paolo Panini 1691-1765, exhibition catalogue, Piacenza, Palazzo Gotico, 15 March-16 May 1993, p. 38;
E. P. Bowron et al., Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue, Washington 1996, p. 193, note 9;
Christie's Review 1999-2000, London 2000, p. 112, illustrated;
‘Rapporto dipinti antichi’ in Giornale dell'Arte, n° 187, April 2000, p. 23 illustrated

This is the earliest dated view by Panini of the interior of the Pantheon in Rome. The work is in excellent condition and is a wonderful snapshot of figures marvelling at the spectacular construction around them, in much the same way as they do today. Panini offers us a broad spectrum of the social tapestry of Rome in 1732: the spirited figures include soldiers, clergymen, mendicants and other people at prayer, all dwarfed by the ancient Roman temple. As is typical of Panini's great works, the meticulously observed architecture, particularly the Corinthian capitals, is bathed in the warm and inviting glow of Rome's afternoon light.
The Pantheon is a remarkable building. It was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and was later rebuild by the Emperor Hadrian circa 126 AD. Originally a Roman temple, since the seventh century it has been used as a Catholic church, officially known as Santa Maria dei Martiri but in fact more commonly referred to as Santa Maria Rotonda or just the Pantheon. The coffered concrete dome remains to this day the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and at its centre is an unusual opening, known as an oculus, through which light streams into the church, as seen here. The oculus was used with some frequency in Roman and Byzantine architecture; aside from allowing sunlight in it also meant rain could cool the interior during the summer months. Several Italian kings and queens are buried in the Pantheon, as well as the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci.
Panini painted several other views of the interior of the Pantheon but all of them post-date the present work, and not all of them are signed and dated. The inclusion of the figure seen here peering in through the oculus in the roof introduces a note of humour. A signed version of similar size, with an identical vantage point and which shows the light streaming in through the roof at the same angle as in the present work is in a private collection in Milan.1 A horizontal treatment of the view, which cuts off the uppermost section of the ceiling, is taken from a very similar point as the previous work and is in a private collection in Rome; it is neither signed nor dated.2 A signed and dated view from 1734 today in a New York private collection differs from the present work as it omits the Corinthian columns of the foreground and is painted from almost directly in front of the entrance.3 A much larger canvas of a similar view as the present work and whose provenance was confused with the present picture by Arisi (see Literature), is in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen.4 A broadly similar, signed and dated version from 1735 was sold, London, Sotheby's 16 March 1969, lot 84 (now in the Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna). Two further treatments of the views, the first in the National Gallery of Art (Kress Collection), the second in the Cleveland Museum, signed and dated 1747, both omit the Corinthian columns.5
Panini often based his figures on drawings he kept with him. In the present work, the figure standing in the middle of the church, wearing white with a black coat around his waist recurrs in the aforementioned Washington version, and is based on a drawing in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin (fig. 1).

1. See Arisi 1986, under Literature, p. 340, cat. no. 218, reproduced.
2. Ibid., p. 341, cat. no. 220, reproduced.
3. Ibid., p. 341, cat. no. 221, reproduced.
4. Ibid., p. 349, cat. no. 236, reproduced.
5. Ibid., p. 373, cat. no. 283, reproduced; and p. 419, cat. no. 374, reproduced.

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