From 9/20 through 9/23, visitors may only enter through the John R entrance. All other entrances, plus the museum grounds, Kirby St and Farnsworth St will be closed during this time for Concours d'Elegance.

Interior of St. Peter's, Rome, 1750

  • Giovanni Paolo Panini, Italian, 1691-1765

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 52 1/4 × 57 5/16 inches (132.7 × 145.6 cm)
  • 64 × 68 1/4 × 5 inches (162.6 × 173.4 × 12.7 cm)

Gift of Mrs. Edgar R. Thom


On View

  • European: Grand Tour of Italy
  • European: Grand Tour of Italy-Rome


European Painting

Panini glorified Rome in countless views of its monuments and in fanciful landscapes where imagined ruins are shown in the proximity of identifiable sights. This view of the interior of Saint Peter's basilica is one of about thirty versions Panini executed for his large, cosmopolitan clientele. This painting shows Bernini’s famous additions to Saint Peter’s—the baldachin and Chair of Saint Peter—along with some of the sculpture and monuments that were added to the interior in the eighteenth century. Amusingly, the artist has introduced many figures caught in the act of looking at the architecture, so that the viewer is, in a fashion, invited to join them in their exploration of this vast space.

Signed and dated, at bottom of left column: I. P. PANINI/ROMAE/1750

the artist, Giovanni Paolo Panini

1750, purchased by William Holbech for (Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, England)

by descent to Ronald H. A. Holbech (Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, England)

August 1929, purchased by (Savile Gallery Ltd., London, England)

1930-1935, purchased by (Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, New York, USA)

after 1935, (Seligmann, Rey & Co., New York, New York, USA)

by 1949, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar R. Thom (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA)

1956-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Wenham, Edward. "The Collector." International Studio 95, no. 394 (March 1930): 55–58, p. 58 (ill.). "[Advertisement] M. Knoedler & Co. Inc, Pictures by Old & Modern Masters." Burlington Magazine 66, no. 383 (February 1935): p. xvii (ill.). Masterpieces of Painting from Detroit Private Collections. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1949, unpaginated, cat. 24. "Recent Accessions of Paintings." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 36, no. 1 (1956–1957): 18–20, pp. 18–19 (ill.). Richardson, E[dgar] P. "Director's Report." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 36, no. 2 (1956–1957): 43–46, pp. 45, 50. Arisi, Ferdinando. Gian Paolo Panini. Piacenza, 1961, pp. 140–141, 197, no. 212, fig. 266 (ill.). Paintings in the Detroit Institute of Arts: A Check List of the Paintings Acquired Before June, 1965. Detroit, 1965, p. 84. Fredericksen, Burton B. and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, MA, 1972, pp. 156, 495, 580. An Aspect of Collecting Taste. Exh. cat., Stair Sainty Matthiesen. New York, 1986, pp. 32–34, no. 10 (ill.). Arisi, Ferdinando. Gian Paolo Panini e fasti della Roma del '700. Rome, 1986, pp. 213, 331, 434, no. 407 (ill.), 453. Kiene, Michael. Panini: Exposition-dossier du département des Peintures. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1992, p. 139. [see no. 37] Giovanni Paolo Panini 1691–1765. Exh. cat., Palazzo Gotico. Piacenza, 1993, p. 84. Henshaw, Julia, ed. A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 186 (ill.). Grazia, Diane de and Eric Garberson. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1996, p. 198, note 12. Mann, Judith Walker. "Baroque Into Rococo: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Italian Paintings." Saint Louis Art Museum Bulletin 22, no. 2 (1997): 1–63, pp. 13, 56. Bandes, Susan J. Pursuits and Pleasures: Baroque Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Dennos Museum Center, Kalamazoo Art Museum, Kresge Art Museum, Muskegon Museum of Art. Battle Creek, 2003, pp. 8, 10-11, 30, 31 (ill.). Bissell, R. Ward, Andria Derstine and Dwight Miller. Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2005, pp. 10, 140–141, no. 46. (ill.). Derstine, Andria. "The Detroit Institute of Arts and Italian Baroque Painting." In Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, 2017, p. 98.

Giovanni Paolo Panini, Interior of St. Peter's, Rome, 1750, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Mrs. Edgar R. Thom, 56.43.