View of the Cappella Paolina, Vatican City, Rome, during a religious ceremony, 1700s
Architect: Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane
Artist: Louis Jean Desprez
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
Jean Louis Desprez worked as an architect in the second half of the 18th century throughout France and Sweden. Like many neoclassical architects, Desprez was trained in painting, creating large Renaissance masterpieces with detailed perspectives.
After being awarded the Great Prize of the Académie d'Architecture in 1770, Desprez travelled regularly to Italy. This image of the Cappella Paolina, a Vatican palace chapel, has the effect of light radiating out from the centre of the picture. This style lends an atmospheric aura and importance to the religious ceremony taking place in the chapel. Desprez's work added to the fervent adoration that architects held towards Renaissance Rome at this time.