Exhibition | A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s
Gabriel Bella, Fat Thursday Festivity in Piazzetta, 18th century
(Venice: Querini Stampalia Foundation)
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Press release (11 January 2017) from NOMA:
A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s
New Orleans Museum of Art, 16 February — 21 May 2017
Curated by Giandomenico Romanelli
The grandeur of Venice comes to America’s most historic city in A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s, an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art. NOMA is the sole venue in the United States presenting this exhibition of objects providing a glimpse into the pageantry, ceremony, and extravagance of Venetian life in the eighteenth century.
“It is with great pleasure that NOMA brings this remarkable exhibition to our public. Venice is presented through an elegant, multi-disciplinary installation featuring an exceptional selection of objects, costumes, and paintings that illuminate an extraordinary time in the history of Venice,” says Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director at the NOMA.
A Life of Seduction illuminates Venetian life and pageantry during the century of Casanova, Canaletto, and Tiepolo. Visitors will see objects depicting the opulence of the time, when the city was a cultural mecca. Eighteenth-century carnival masks, costumes and robes, shoes, handbags, and regal glass objects are displayed among exquisite paintings by Canaletto and Guardi. “A significant strength of this exhibition is its historical and cultural point of view and the distinctive range of objects that tell the story,” says NOMA Curator Vanessa Schmid.
Fittingly, A Life of Seduction arrives in New Orleans at a time when parallels between the two cities are apparent, just before Carnival and the spring festival season. Guest-curated by the former director of the Civic Museums of Venice, Giandomenico Romanelli, the exhibition presents four themes: A City that Lives on Water, the Celebration of Power, Aristocratic Life in Town and Country, and the City as Theater. The festivals and celebration unique to Venetian culture are depicted in detailed paintings of a city transformed at carnival. Gondola models illustrate the exquisite craftsmanship and elegance of canal life and travel. Palace and country living are brought to life by resplendent costumes, silk waistcoats, gloves, and handbags, as well as furnishings and delicate, rare Venetian glass objects, for which the city is still so well known. Theater and opera—vital elements in Venetian life and imagination—are represented through paintings, decorative arts, and a full-scale puppet theater lent by the Casa Goldoni of Venice especially for this exhibition.
The exhibition is originated by NOMA, organized by the Contemporanea Progetti, and guest-curated by Giandomenico Romanelli.