Art Fund grant ensures Panini goes to National Gallery

  • 25 October 2006

The Art Fund has given a major grant of £150,000 to the National Gallery, London to ensure it secures its first major work by the Italian painter Giovanni Paolo Panini.

The painting was accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and allocated to the National Gallery. The Lottery in Piazza di Montecitorio, Rome was acquired for £1,800,000.

During his lifetime Giovanni Paolo Panini’s (1691-1765) reputation was equalled only by that of Canaletto in Venice. Known as the master of architectural perspective he was the greatest view painter in eighteenth-century Rome and his paintings remain the most impressive images of the Eternal City ever created.

Several of Panini’s paintings were brought back to Britain by Grand Tourists (usually young upper-class British men travelling around Europe) but many of the best of these have now been exported abroad, and no major example has ever entered a UK public collection.

The Lottery in Piazza di Montecitorio, Rome is thought to have been created for Cardinal Domenico Orsini (1719-1789) and depicts a vast crowd assembled to witness the drawing of the Italian lottery from the balcony of the Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome. The painting is of exceptional importance because only a few of Panini’s paintings of contemporary history have left their original collections.

Giovanni Paolo Panini was born in Piacenza, where he trained as an architectural painter and stage designer. In 1711 he moved to Rome and joined the drawing academy of Benedetto Luti, winning acceptance into the circle of Roman artists. From about 1720 he began to produce the views of Rome that became the mainstay of his career and fortune.

Related Links:

National Gallery

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)