The Pantheon is one of the best preserved of the ancient buildings in Rome.
Built by Marcus Agrippa in 27 BC, it was rebuilt twice after fires in 80 and 110 AD.
The Pantheon we see today was designed under Trajan’s reign (probably by his favorite
architect, Apollodorus of Damascus) and completed by Hadrian in 126 AD. Boasting the
largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world with a 30 foot oculus open to the sky,
the Pantheon was the inspiration for Brunelleschi’s groundbreaking Renaissance
dome in Florence, the Bramante design for St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheons
in Paris and London, the US Capitol and Jefferson Memorial in Washington,
and numerous other buildings over the centuries. The Pantheon has been
called the most influential building in Western European architecture.

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Front view (portico and rotunda)
Detail of Replaced Columns
Vestibule Exterior Facing

Portico Columns and Trusses
Agrippa Inscription Details
Night Shots: Facade and Portico

Rotunda: Rear Detail
Basilica of Neptune
Pantheon Nightlife


Coffered Dome and Oculus
Altar and Apse: Wide
St. Agnes and St. Joseph
Umberto I and Raphael’s Tombs
St. Agnes and Umberto I Tomb: Detail shots

Madonna of the Rock, Madonna of the Girdle
Annunciation Chapel: Wide
da Forli Annunciation and Archangel Gabriel
Cozza’s Adoration Cycle
Altar and Apse: Detail (and Ancient Fresco)


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Pantheon

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Pantheon (16 x 9) 6483
1600 x 990 (421 KB)

There are both 16 x 9 and standard aspect ratio Portfolio images,
so I have included both versions on this page for your examination.

The Pantheon was originally built by Marcus Agrippa in 27 BC in the Campus Martius.
Agrippa’s Pantheon was destroyed in the 80 AD fire, was rebuilt by Domitian, and burned
again in 110 AD. A recent reexamination of brick stamps has determined that reconstruction
began soon after the second fire of 110 AD and was completed by Hadrian (123-126 AD).
 Design of the structure we see today was thus begun under Trajan’s reign, and was very
likely designed by Trajan’s favorite architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, although a
few of the decorative features must have been designed under Hadrian. The
original inscription was reused by Hadrian, contributing to the confusion
which existed over when the current structure was built and by whom.


Pantheon 6481
1500 x 1092 (403 KB)

The holes in the pediment (triangular space above the entablature containing the inscription)
once held clamps for the relief sculpture (probably a gilded bronze eagle in a wreath with ribbons
extending into the corners of the pediment, based upon the pattern of the holes). Note the large gap
between the existing pediment and the pediment marked on the front of the vestibule. The original
design of the portico called for columns 50 Roman feet tall, with 10 foot tall Corinthian capitals.
The quarries in Egypt had already supplied materials for the enormous northern gate to the
Forum of Trajan and no longer contained areas which could be mined for the 50 foot
columns, so 40 foot columns were provided with 8 foot capitals. Also, notice the
last column on the front left is red granite instead of gray and the left three
capitals are different than the others. The image below tells the story.


Pantheon column detail 8511c
1500 x 1092 (466 KB)

This image is a detail crop from 8511, shown in full further below. It illustrates the differences
between the three left side columns and the original columns shown on the right. The left three
columns fell, and were replaced in the 17th c. with columns found near San Luigi dei Francesi.
These columns were originally from baths which were built by Alexander Severus. The columns
are of red granite (matching the other columns in the rear two rows of the portico), but as you
can see, the Corinthian capitals are different (the acanthus leaves are far more prominent
and extend into the wider and differently-shaped tops of the capitals on the left side). In
the right rear rows you can see original capitals which have intact tops for reference.


Pantheon vestibule exterior 8508
795 x 1290 (355 KB)

The left side of the vestibule with remaining parts of the original ancient marble facing and pilaster. This image and others which were taken at night were very challenging shots. I knew that tripods were not allowed inside of buildings, and would probably be problematic to use in the crowded streets, so I did not bring one to Europe. It is very difficult to handhold 1/2 to 1 second shots and get clean results.


Pantheon exterior 6530
749 x 1290 (420 KB)

The exterior of the right side of the vestibule and the rotunda, along with one of the red granite columns at the rear of the portico. Note the brick supporting arches in the upper two sections of the rotunda, designed to relieve stress and to help support the massive weight of the enormous concrete dome.


Pantheon Portico 8514
795 x 1290 (361 KB)

A dramatic low-angle shot of the columns supporting the portico. This image and the next ones show good detail of the original capitals and pilasters (and other construction details).


Pantheon Portico 6518
795 x 1290 (334 KB)

The low relief acanthus leaves in the original fluted pilasters are similar to those on the column capitals, whose shapes can be seen in the unbroken parts of the column capitals above.


Pantheon Portico 6524
795 x 1290 (357 KB)

The stacked, arched support structures over the beams were added above the beams when the bronze trusses and ceiling of the portico were removed by the order of Pope Urban VIII in 1625 to create the bombard cannons for Castel sant’Angelo.


Pantheon Portico 6489
960 x 1290 (437 KB)

The Pantheon has been both a mine and a quarry for bronze and marble over the centuries. Most of the external marble has been stripped (some pilaster capitals are in the British Museum, and marble was used for many churches and other buildings in the medieval period). The bronze roof tiles on the portico and dome were stripped by the order of the Emperor Constantine II in 633, and 200 tons of bronze ceiling and trusses over the beams supporting the weight of the ceiling were stripped by Pope Urban VIII in 1625 to make cannons for Castel sant’Angelo (replaced with stacked stone arches).


Pantheon Inscription and Portico 6487
1500 x 1075 (471 KB)

Frontal detail of the inscription and portico. The inscription reads as follows:

 Marcus Agrippa, Lucii Filius, Consul Tertium Fecit

Marcus Agrippa, Son of Lucius, Consul Three times, Built this

The year that Marcus Agrippa was consul for the third time was 27 BC.
The inscription aided in dating the original construction of the building.
The brick stamps are from the years between 115 and 127 (Hadrian
came to power in 117 AD, so the design and initial construction was
under Hadrian’s predecessor Trajan (and his architect Apollodorus).

In the image above (and the detail crop below) you can see the fine
inscriptions in the marble below the Agrippa inscription, which would
have been covered by facing. These were created at the time of the
later repairs by Septimius Severus (note the area under M AG).


Pantheon Inscription detail 6487c
(detail crop — no linked image)

This is a detail crop resized down 10% from the master image, showing the section
under M AGRIPPA with the fine inscription recording the repairs which were
started by Septimius Severus and completed by Caracalla in 202 AD.

The bronze letters of the inscription were originally added during
Hadrian’s reconstruction, as the original incised marble inscription
was considered more difficult to read (understandably). During the
Dark Ages and Medieval periods, when bronze was looted from
buildings and statues were melted for the metal, the Pantheon
inscription was removed to be melted down, as were those
on Triumphal Arches and other monumental structures.
The letters were later replaced, and the design was
used as a model for the inscriptions on churches
and civil buildings. They were the foundation
model for the modern field of typography.

The current letters were replaced as a
part of the restorations of the 1890s.


Pantheon Inscription and Portico 8513
1500 x 1065 (495 KB)

Archaeological excavations in the late 20th century have determined that the Pantheon
built by Agrippa was completely destroyed in the huge fire of 80 AD, but that unlike the
conclusions drawn from earlier excavations, Agrippa’s Pantheon was oriented to the
north (as the current building is) and was a round temple with a triangular portico.
Earlier analysis based on excavations of the late 19th century had concluded
that it faced south, with the entrance towards the Basilica of Neptune (see
the image further below). The archaeologist decided that the plan had
been a shortened T-shape, with the entrance at the base of the T.
There is still much debate over the shape and orientation, as
some experts still accept the results of the 19th century.


Pantheon 8509
1500 x 1125 (473 KB)

I could not resist taking a couple of dramatic low-angle shots of the Pantheon at night.
The image above is a 2/5 second exposure, and the image below is a one second exposure.
I did not expect most of the night shots to be usable, but I still took a fair number of them in Rome.
The ancient marble structures are so dramatic at night, even with normal angles, but the long
exposure times which are required reduce the yield considerably. I have practiced a very
stable hand-holding technique for use in dark museums and other interiors, which has
often allowed shooting down to 1/20 second or so, but in Rome the night shots
required 1/8 second to 1 second exposures, normally impossible shots.
I usually took several in rapid succession, and hoped for the best.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the results. Some were
clearly junk, of course, but I got usable images almost
every time, and many were of portfolio quality.

I’m through patting myself on the back.


Pantheon 8511
1500 x 1092 (433 KB)

This image turned out to be one of my favorites, and when I looked at the meter
and saw that it would require a one second exposure to get the shot I had planned,
I nearly didn’t shoot it. Instead, I decided that It was worth a try, and took three shots. The
detail crop shown earlier during the discussion of the column replacements is a 100%
crop from the master image. Open the large version (a link for your convenience).
(The link will open in a second tab or window). Remember: this image was a
one second exposure and it came out perfectly sharp. Try it some time.

OK... now I’m really finished gloating. For the moment...  :^)


Pantheon Rotunda 8505
1500 x 1155 (378 KB)

This image of the rear of the rotunda shows the brick support arches which took up
some of the stress on the drum from the massive weight of the dome. The arches were
continued on the rectangular extension of the building, most likely for design consistency.
The entire building was faced with marble, so none of this would have been visible.

The rectangular structure at the rear of the rotunda is part of the Basilica of Neptune.


Pantheon Basilica of Neptune 8520 M
1500 x 1290 (663 KB)

The Corinthian capital and part of the entablature and frieze remaining from the Basilica of Neptune,
 built by Marcus Agrippa to celebrate his naval victory at the Battle of Actium, where he defeated the navy
of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, along with his victories at the Battles of Mylae and Nauloco against Pompey’s
 Senatorial party who opposed Octavian. Agrippa was the general responsible for most of the military victories
of Octavian (Augustus Caesar), and was his friend, his closest confidant, and essentially his vice-Emperor.
The Basilica was restored under Hadrian’s reign (the remains you see here are from Hadrian’s period).

In the large version of this image, you can see the ornamentation on the top of the capital which depicts
a diving whale, and you can see more diving whales, shells and Neptune’s Trident on the entablature.

The Basilica of Neptune has in the past been mistakenly identified as the structure
 which is actually the Temple of Hadrian (it can be seen on the Ancient Scenery page).


Pantheon Nightlife 8527
1500 x 1125 (441 KB)

At night, restaurants in the area put out tables, and the piazza
becomes the Pantheon Night Club (not really, but it is a bit festive).
A little mangia, a glass of vino and some conversation... that’s Italia.

The obelisk on the right of the image is the Macuteo Obelisk, originally
erected by Ramesses II as one of a pair at the Temple of Ra in Heliopolis.
 It was brought with its twin to Rome in ancient times and was erected at the
Temple of Isis near Santa Maria sopra Minerva. It was found in 1373 near
 San Macuto and erected east of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the Capitoline.
The Macuteo Obelisk was moved to the Pantheon by Pope Clement XI
in 1711 and was installed over the fountain by Filippo Barigioni.

This was another tricky night shot, but this was a bit easier due to the lights
in the piazza. The shot was a more typical 1/30 second at f/2, difficult but not an
impossible shot with practice. I had to push it two stops in the camera (-2.33 EV)
like most of the other night shots, which meant that processing was tricky, but
in this case there was enough light so that the moving people would be only
slightly blurred (otherwise, the shot would have been worthless).

The page continues below with interiors.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Pantheon

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 17 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Pantheon Dome 6492
795 x 1290 (441 KB)

The coffered dome of the Pantheon inscribes a perfect half circle which, if mirrored, would exactly touch the floor. The cylindrical drum is exactly the same height as the radius of the circle. The dome is substantially larger than any dome which was built before it (and for 1300 years after, until Brunelleschi built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, which he built with brick since the formula for concrete was lost in the Dark Ages). Brunelleschi studied the Pantheon dome for 20 years before he designed the dome for Florence’s Duomo.


Pantheon Oculus 6509
795 x 1290 (390 KB)

The design of the dome was groundbreaking in several ways, but most ingenious was the way in which the stress problem was handled. The dome decreased in thickness from bottom to top (21 ft. thick at the base, 3.9 ft. at the oculus), and the weight was reduced by the use of coffers and progressively less dense formulations of concrete from bottom to top. The oculus itself removed the critical unsupported mass at the center of the dome, and the drum was honeycombed and supported by a series of brick stress-relieving arches.

The outward stresses were relieved to a great degree by extending the exterior rotunda wall
well over the base of the dome, counteracting the tendency for the dome to expand outward.
In addition, the central third of the exterior of the dome is ribbed by seven overlapping rings,
which provide reinforcement to the central section of the dome. The entire exterior of the
dome was covered with gilded bronze tiles, which were stripped from the dome in 633
by Constantine II (Constans II) and shipped to Constantinople, along with most other
ornamental metal on the ancient buildings in Rome (metal was worth quite a lot,
and many ancient bronze sculptures were also melted down for their metal).


Pantheon Oculus 7480
1500 x 1092 (241 KB)

The light from the oculus and the door provide the only light inside, so on heavily overcast days
it is quite dark inside the Pantheon (note the difference between the 6400-6500 series images
and the 7400-7500 series images). There are some spotlights placed here and there, but they
do not light the interior much, only the areas within the cone of light. The light from the oculus
travels around the dome like a reverse sundial. The coffers, besides lightening the dome,
also created ribs on the interior to support the structure. The coffers form five equally
spaced rows of 28... this even spacing was quite difficult to achieve. The coffers
were built on-site and were originally gilded (and possibly had bronze stars
or another gilded ornamentation mounted in the center of the coffers).
The bronze-framed oculus is 143 feet over the Pantheon pavement.


Pantheon 6512 M
1500 x 1290 (545 KB)

The facing of the drum interior is granite, porphyry and colored marble, as is the pavement.
The original facing above the entablature supported by columns and pilasters was stripped
and stuccoed. This stucco was later replaced with the Neo-Classical attic you see above.


Pantheon Altar Apse 6499
1500 x 1029 (548 KB)

The Chapel of the Crucifixion on the left, with the Roman brick visible. The Crucifix is
15th century, and the bust is a portrait of Cardinal Agostino Rivarola (early 19th c. legate).
The niche contains a statue of St. Rasius (St. Erasio), by Francesco Moderati (1727), whose
relics are interred below the statue. The Altar and Apse was designed by Alessandro Specchi,
who was papal architect to Clement XI and collaborated on the creation of the Spanish Steps.
In 1715, Specchi completely replaced the medieval decorations with the current structure.

The Pantheon was converted into a church (Santa Maria ad Martyres) in the 7th century,
dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Christian Martyrs who were slaughtered during the
persecutions of Diocletian and others prior to the conversion from the pagan religions.

One of the few intelligent things the despicable temporary Emperor Phocas did was give
the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV in 609 AD. After the Empire had converted to Christianity
the Pantheon was abandoned as a temple (it is not known what if anything it was used for). The
donation to the church preserved the structure from the worst of the looting which followed the
Fall of the Roman Empire, although (as mentioned earlier), the gilded bronze and much of
the exterior facing was removed (beginning with the removal of the gilded tiles in 663,
the removal of facing marble in the Medieval periods, and finally, removal of interior
 facing stones and the bronze trusses and portico ceiling in the Baroque period).


Pantheon Altar Apse 6505 M
1600 x 1110 (596 KB)

During this first time in the Pantheon, services were in session and it was difficult to shoot much of
what I wanted. I have images of the altar and apse area both with and without people, and have shown
you both on this page (further down are others taken on a different day, with more light and no services).

The apse is directly opposite the entrance door, balancing the rotunda space. Between the two openings
are three gaps now used as chapels. Unlike the open apse and entrance door, the six chapels each have
two fluted Corinthian columns in the opening and rather than columns at the corners, the chapels have a
square fluted pilaster at each corner. The East and West chapel openings are apse-shaped, and the
 openings between the cardinal directions are trapezoidal. Between each opening are niches like
the one shown above, with gabled pediments like the one above over the niches beside the
apse and the entrance, and arched pediments like the one below left on either side of the
apse-shaped chapels. The 7 openings now used as chapels and apse were originally
occupied by statues, possibly to the Gods of the 7 Planets known to the Ancients.

Some information I found states that the icon in the apse was recently analyzed,
 revealing that the original 7th century icon was overpainted in the 13th century.
Other information states that this icon is a copy of the original in the Chapel
of the Canons in the Vatican, and that the Vatican icon has been dated to
the 13th century. Wikipedia repeats the second source. No confirmation
of either version can be found by a reputable authority so far. Mysteries.


Pantheon St. Agnes Vincenzo Felici 6504 M
937 x 1600 (427 KB)

The sculpture in the niche is St. Agnes and the Agnus Dei, by Vincenzo Felici (c. 1700). There is a detailed image further below. The bust to the left is Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536), a Renaissance architect and painter who worked on the new St. Peter’s Basilica under Bramante, Raphael and Sangallo. The bust was created from a plaster by Giovanni Dupre.


Pantheon St. Joseph and Holy Child
Vincenzo de’ Rossi 6494

751 x 1600 (427 KB)

In the Chapel of St. Joseph next to the entrance is a sculpture: “St. Joseph and the Holy Child” by Vincenzo de’ Rossi (1548). This was de’ Rossi’s first commission as a solo artist (he had apprenticed with Baccio Bandinelli in Florence)... de’ Rossi also created Helen and Paris in the Grotto in Boboli Gardens.


Pantheon St. Agnes Raphael's Tomb 7472
1500 x 1092 (636 KB)

This image shows the arched chapel between St. Agnes and the Agnus Dei and the
Tomb of Raphael. Note that like the other chapels, this apse-shaped chapel is flanked
on both sides with fluted Corinthian pilasters and has two fluted Corinthian columns in the
opening. The chapel contains the Tomb of Umberto I, son of Victor Emmanuel II and second
King of the Unified Italy (1878-1900). Umberto was assassinated by an anarchist in 1900.

In the image above (taken on a different day than preceding images), there was more light
and better color saturation. Note the geometric marble facing of the lower wall (below the
entablature supported by columns and pilasters) and the rebuilt attic, with marble framed
panels, false windows and pediments, a mid-18th century Neoclassic reconstruction to
repair the poorly done stucco attic created when the original marbles were removed.

Note the monolithic columns beside the two niches and the arched pediments.
The columns flanking St. Agnes are red granite, and the Madonna of the Rock
above Raphael’s Tomb (on the right) is flanked by two porphyry columns.


Pantheon St. Agnes Umberto 7447
1500 x 1092 (647 KB)

St. Agnes and the apse-shaped chapel housing the Tomb of Umberto I.
Behind the red granite columns of St. Agnes’ niche are porphyry pilasters.
Note the detail of the Corinthian capitals of the fluted columns and pilasters.

Individual detail shots of both are below.


St. Agnes and Agnus Dei Vincenzo Felici 7452
759 x 1290 (332 KB)

A close detail image of Vincenzo Felici’s St. Agnes,
with the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), c. 1700. St. Agnes
seems to be holding what has to be the largest quill
pen ever seen, but it looks as if the end may be
broken, so it may be something else. Note the
face of the lamb... it always makes me smile.


Pantheon Tomb Umberto 7454
765 x 1290 (426 KB)

Umberto I was the last Savoy to be buried in the Pantheon, beside his father Victor Emmanuel II. The chapel design was by Giuseppe Sacconi (designer of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II), and includes a massive porphyry block with lion heads, topped by a slab of alabaster mounted with gilded bronze. The altar with royal arms was created by Guido Cirilli.


Madonna of the Rock Raphael's Tomb 7456 M
1000 x 1600 (436 KB)

Madonna del Sasso (Madonna of the Rock), stands over the Tomb of Raphael. Created by Lorenzo Lotti (Lorenzetto, Raphael’s pupil) in 1520-24 by commission from Raphael, the statue gets its name because one foot is resting on a rock.


Pantheon Madonna of the Girdle 7467
846 x 1290 (360 KB)

Madonna of the Girdle and St. Nicholas of Bari, painted in 1686 by an unknown artist. I am not sure why St. Nicholas is in this scene, since the story (as I read it) has the Virgin giving the girdle to St. Thomas. This painting is mounted in the niche to the right of the Chapel of the Annunciation as shown below.


Pantheon St. Thomas Madonna of the Girdle 7476
1500 x 1110 (544 KB)

The first chapel and niche to the right of the entrance contains, from left:
The fresco of the Annunciation by Melozzo da Forli (detail below);
the Incredulity of St. Thomas by Pietro Paolo Bonzi (1633),
below which is Archangel Gabriel (below right); and the
Madonna of the Girdle and St. Nicholas of Bari.


Pantheon Annunciation 7470
960 x 1290 (522 KB)

Painted by Melozzo (Ambrosi) da Forli during his Roman period between 1480 and 1484, the Annunciation is in the Chapel of the Annunciation (naturally), and is one of the most recognizable and famous works in the Pantheon, partly because it is one of the few existing works by da Forli. Melozzo was the most important painter of the Forli School, as his works exhibited an early use of geometric perspective. Introduced by Brunelleschi c. 1425, geometric perspective was gradually picked up by artists, first in Florence and later in Rome. Melozzo influenced Raphael, Michelangelo and others.


Pantheon Archangel Gabriel 7469
795 x 1290 (323 KB)

Also in the Chapel of the Annunciation is this statue of
the Archangel Gabriel, who brought the news to Mary of
the upcoming birth (for those who don’t know the story).
I cannot discover who created this sculpture or when,
after a lot of research. Sometimes it goes that way.


Pantheon Adoration of the Shepherds
Francesco Cozza 7465

960 x 1290 (460 KB)

A pupil of Domenichino (Pascoli), Cozza did not follow the ‘modern’ Baroque trends sweeping through the Roman style of painting, preferring a classical style based on those of his teacher and Annibale Carracci (especially his landscapes with small figures). This style was to last throughout his career.


Pantheon Adoration of the Magi
Francesco Cozza 7461

960 x 1290 (491 KB)

He adopted styles of Guido Reni, Domenichino and Carracci into a style reminiscent of early Renaissance. His approach was well received in circles where the Baroque style had not taken hold. These frescoes in Cozza’s Adoration cycle are a good example of the well-developed style in his later years.


Adoration of the Shepherds and St. Joseph and the Holy Child 7463 M
1500 x 1290 (529 KB)

Close detail shot of Vincenzo de’ Rossi’s St. Joseph and the Holy Child
in the niche next to Francesco Cozza’s Adoration of the Shepherds,
in the Chapel of St. Joseph in the Holy Land, Pantheon, Rome.


Pantheon Altar Apse 7459
827 x 1290 (481 KB)

Detail of the apse mosaic (crosses, wreaths and stars), and one of the fluted Corinthian columns. The apse and altar by Alessandro Specchi (who collaborated on the design of the Spanish Steps) was commissioned by Pope Clement XI.


Pantheon Ancient Fresco Fragment 7475
785 x 1290 (389 KB)

This niche, with red granite columns and porphyry pilasters houses a fragmentary ancient fresco over the Roman brick.


Pantheon Altar Apse 7445 M
1500 x 1290 (706 KB)

Note the file size. An M-sized image of the apse and altar, and the statue
of St. Rasius (St. Erasio) in the niche above his reliquary beside the apse.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Pantheon

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


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