Giovanni Paolo Panini 

(or Pannini) (1691 - 1765)

Giovanni Paolo Panini (also known as Pannini) was born in Piacenza, Italy on June 17, 1691, and died in Rome, at the age of 74, on October 21, 1765.


A few years older than Canaletto, Panini was a professional painter, architect and Theatre scenographer.

Since several elements seems to match with Canaletto's career beginnings, it is very likely he could have been an inspiration for the young Canaletto, who in 1719 was "annoiato dalla indiscretezza de' Poeti drammatici " (bored by the inconsistency of the dramatic Poets), and during his last stay in Rome 1720 decided to start his career as a professional painter.

There is no historical proof that the two had made contact, but quite a bit of circumstances push in that direction:

- Panini was almost a contemporary of Canaletto: born in 1691 he was already a 29 years old young painter in 1720 when Canaletto worked with his father Bernardo as a Theater Set Designer for the last time, and being 25 at the time.

- Panini too was painting Theater scenes at this time.

- in 1720 Panini was already a professional painter and was making his way up.

- In such a small world as the Art World is, it is very unlikely that a young guy, interested in painting, would visit the "Città Eterna" (Aeternal City, as Rome had been called since medieval times), such an important art place, without "giving a look" to see what could have been going on there.

- As a youngster, Panini studied in Piacenza as a Theatre scenographer, then moved to Rome to study drawing with Benedetto Lulli, and was already well known for his work on Villa Patrizi (1718-25) and Palazzo Carolis (1720), when Canaletto visited Rome the second time.

- In 1718 Panini was accepted in the "Congregazione dei Virtuosi del Pantheon". "Virtuosi" means here Artists, Architects, Painters and Sculptors, and was sort of a Charity Institution, quite important in the Rome "Art Environment" of those times.

- Panini taught at the "Accademia di San Luca" starting in 1719.

Giovanni Paolo Panini may have already been quite accomplished and well known as a professional painter when young Canaletto visited Rome in 1716 and 1720.

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