Giovanni Paolo Panini
Italian, 1691 ‑ 1765
The Wedding at Cana, about 1725
Oil on canvas
39 1/16 × 54 in. (99.2 × 137.2 cm.)
Museum purchase, Preston Pope Satterwhite Reserve Fund
Conservation funded by Mr. and Mrs. William O. Alden Jr., 2006  

Setting the Stage
In the Bible, Jesus Christ performed his first miracle during a wedding he attended at Cana. The wine ran out before the feast ended and Jesus transformed six barrels of water into wine. Panini was a celebrated artist known for his painted views of ancient Roman ruins, usually enhanced with his own invented architectural features. In this painting, he stages the miracle within a magnificent imaginary building. The soaring structure towers above Christ and his entourage.