around the collar of the cupola: [CA]ELORVM TV ES PETRVS ET SV[PER HANC PETRAM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEAM ET TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI]; on the ceiling of the nave, the arms of Pope Paul V, encircled by: PAVLVS.V.PONT.MAX.A.MDCXV; on arcophagus above first doorway on right: INNOCENT. XIII. / PONT.MAX.; on upper relief roundel on the first pier at left: S GELASIVUS; on lower roundel on the second pier at left: S. SIXTUS; on upper roundel on right pier: S. CAIVUS; on lower roundel on right pier: S. MARCVS; on second pier: S. TELESCO
Possibly Étienne-François, duc de Choiseul [1719-1785], Château de Chanteloup, Touraine and/or Paris; (sale, Paris, 12 December 1787, no. 101). Possibly Hubert Robert [1733-1808], Paris; his wife, Anne-Gabrielle Soos [1745-1821], Paris; (sale, Paris, 16-17 November 1821, no. 55). William Lowther, 2d earl of Lonsdale [1787-1872], London; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 18 June 1887, no. 912). Algernon George De Vere, 8th earl of Essex [1884-1966], Cassiobury, Hertfordshire; (sale, Knight, Frank & Rutley, London, 6 July 1923, no. 257). (Sackville Gallery, London, 1924). (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Rome and Florence); his heirs. M. Friedenberg; sold 28 November 1967 to (Thomas Agnew & Sons, London); purchased 1968 by NGA.
- British Institution, London, 1858, no. 79.
- In Memoriam, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1969, unnumbered checklist.
- The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe 1600-1750, La Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, Turin; Montreal Mus. of Fine Arts; Natl. Gal. of Art, Wash., D.C.; Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille, 1999-2001, no. 8 (shown Montreal and D.C.).
- Croft-Murray, Edward. "A Sketchbook of Giovanni Paolo Pannini in the British Museum." Old Master Drawings 11 (1937): 64.
- Levey, Michael. "Panini, St. Peter's and Cardinal de Polignac." The Burlington Magazine 99 (1957): 53-54.
- Wunder, Richard. "L' 'Interno di S. Pietro' del Panini a Ca' Rezzonico." Bollettino dei Musei Civici Veneziani 7 (1962): 12.
- Cott, Perry B. "The Ailsa Mellon Bruce Gifts." The Connoisseur 178 (December 1971): 251-252, fig. 2.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 258, repro.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. Washington, 1979: 1:351-354, 2:pl. 255.
- A Dealer's Record: Agnew's 1967-81. London, 1981: 12, repro. 61.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 346, no. 480, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 298, repro.
- An Aspect of Collecting Taste. Exh. cat. Stair Sainty Matthiesen, New York, 1986: 33.
- De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 193-198, color repro. 195.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 243, no. 195, color repro.
The support is a single-thread, plain-weave fabric of medium weight. Guidelines indicating the principal architectural forms were lightly incised into the thick, pinkish red ground before the application of paint. Many of the incised lines in the floor were not followed in the final painted design, although the fact that other incisions and painted details of the floor stop precisely at the figure groups indicates that a preliminary sketch of some sort was employed. The paint was smoothly and fluidly applied with quite small brushes for the figures and the architectural details. The basic forms were applied as a smoothly blended and modeled lower layer over which the highlights, shadows, and finer details were added, often with unblended, precise strokes, and with the aid of a straightedge for the architectural details. The overlying detailing of certain figures was applied so summarily that they appear unfinished; the old man with the walking stick at lower left and the man in the bright blue cape in the far left distance are examples.
The original tacking margins have been removed, but cusping on all four edges suggests that the composition retains its intended dimensions. The painting was probably lined just prior to its acquisition in 1968 and has not been treated since. There is severe abrasion in a narrow band extending along the bottom edge, scattered losses, and moderate abrasion of the figures and the architecture. The varnish is clear.