Canaletto’s Venice

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 5, 2010

From the Ringling Museum website:

Venice in the Age of Canaletto
John and Marble Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 8 October 2009 — 10 January 2010
Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, February 14 — 9 May 2010

Curated by Stanton Thomas and Alexandra Libby

Edited by Alexandra Libby and Stanton Thomas (Prestel) ISBN: 978-3791380001, $60

Venice in the Age of Canaletto is a collaborative project between The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art that will consider Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto in a Venetian context. In particular, it focuses upon the contrast between the artist’s paintings and the works of his contemporaries also active in the city. Canaletto’s vedute, or view paintings, were arguably the most familiar artistic products of eighteenth-century Venice; yet, for all their ability to reproduce immediately recognizable views of the city, they are curiously devoid of the exuberance, sensuality, and rich coloring of most Venetian art of the period. When Canaletto’s paintings are compared with the works of Giambattista Tiepolo, Francesco Guardi, and Sebastiano Ricci, they are revealed as beautiful but rather anomalous creations. The exhibition explores the strange tension that exists between Canaletto’s austere, seemingly realistic cityscapes and the exuberant, pastelline fantasies, religious pictures, and historical dramas of the Venetian Rococo.

Venice in the Age of Canaletto considers a span of approximately 100 years, beginning in 1697, the year of the artist’s birth, and ending in 1797, the year that Napoleon invaded the city and brought the Venetian Republic to an end. This period captures the fascinating social, religious, political, and artistic evolution that precipitated the end of the Republic. The exhibition focuses upon a time when Venice, perhaps more than any other European city, cultivated an elusive civic image of pleasure, fantasy, and escapism. (more…)

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