Art: Inspiring Ruins

The plump, periwigged sightseer was too excited to sleep; Edward Gibbon spent his first night in Rome waiting for dawn. When at last it came, Historian Gibbon recalled later, "I trod with lofty step the ruins of the Forum: each memorable spot where Romulus stood, or Cicero spoke, or Caesar fell, was at once present to my eye." Last week visitors to Detroit's Institute of Arts could see what Gibbon saw, as painted by his 18th Century contempo rary, Giovanni Paolo Pannini. The institute had just acquired Pannini's splendid, solemn View of the...

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