The Interior of Saint Peter’s
Union County College Elizabeth
Date-Dec 15th, 2010
Prof. B. Weskot
The Interior of Saint Peter’s
Art has been around for what seems to be forever, yet no one has truly found an answer to the question, what is art? For some, definitions such as, art is “which implies knowledge of materials and their skillful handling.”(Ocvirk, 5), may be fulfilling, but in my opinion art has a much deeper meaning to it. If a person understands the work of art then, in a way one understands the artist himself. During the trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Giovanni Paolo Panini’s Interior of Saint Peter’s, caught my eye from the start; therefore I have decided to write my paper on it.
Giovanni Paolo Panini was born in 1692, in Piacenza. He first started off his training from a stage designer, after that he moved to Rome where he specialized in decorations and began to study drawing. Panini started to receive recognition after joining the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon and the Accademia di San Luca. Soon enough Panini was painting frescoes for essential people, for an example painting for the Pope was one of Panini’s projects. The Interior of Saint Peter’s was only one of many paintings Panini had done.
Giovanni Paolo Panini painted the Interior of Saint Peter’s with oil; the picture plane, which is a flat surface where the artist implements his image on, is a plain canvas. The dimensions of the canvas is (74 x 99.7 cm), Panini used a canvas which had more height than width due to the fact that the Interior of Saint Peter’s contained high domed ceilings, he uses this canvas to his advantage in portraying the domed ceiling along with the arched columns. The smart choice in the dimensions of the canvas comes to no surprise due to the fact that Panini specialized in architectural paintings. He angles the perception of the painting to show the enormous size of the building. It is easy to see the distance between where the viewpoint of the painting is to the far end of the structure. You can also tell that the building was massive by observing the people Panini painted into the picture. If you notice everyone is painted as if they were nothing but ants from this distance in the building. This truly brings out the size of the building and allows the viewer to acknowledge that indeed this is a big structure. From this point of view the painting seems to be in the two dimensional world.
The color in the painting allows the viewer to see the vast decorations on the columns, ceiling, and you clearly see the structure in the back of the painting, yet it is not as clear as the closer objects, which shows us this “real“image of the viewpoint. Panini uses colors to distinguish between where one decoration ends and another begins. For example, look at the decorations on the columns, you can clearly see where they begin and end, such detail of the color has been put into this piece of art and that detail allows the viewer to understand the beauty of the scene. You can see on the left side of the painting that the light is shining in from the windows and into the scene; this allows the viewer to understand that if they were there most of the inside would be in shade. There is also a man wearing red in the middle of the scene who seems to be kneeling and praying. The red colored clothes of this man stick out perfectly compared to the surroundings, making it clear that we should not overlook this man; maybe Panini had a meaning to why this man was kneeling and why he wanted the viewer to notice it.
Panini also uses volume to show the height and width of the columns. From where the scene is being viewed from the columns are shown from two sides. One side of the column, the side with three figure looking designs on it, seems to be facing towards what might be the...