The fanciful temple at the center of this painting may look as permanent as the buildings surrounding it. In fact, it was a temporary structure built of plaster and board that was designed to self-destruct in a burst of fireworks. Europe’s cities often served as stages for elaborate festivals that celebrated its ruling elites, and Giovanni Paolo Panini’s painting documents the festivities inspired by the 1745 wedding of Louis, Dauphin of France. It also proudly records the artist’s own handiwork as a designer. Along with grand urban views like this one, Panini was famed for his festival decorations and fireworks displays. The temple featured here was built from his own plans.