Exhibition | Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 23, 2022

From the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony
Zwinger, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, 21 May — 28 August 2022
Royal Castle, Warsaw, 23 September 2022 — 8 January 2023

Coinciding with the 300th anniversary of his birth, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is holding a major monographic exhibition in celebration of the work of Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto (1722–1780). The artist—who, like his uncle and teacher Antonio Canal, also called himself Canaletto—ranks as one of the most important 18th-century painters of city views or vedute. The Dresden retrospective is the culmination of a years-long conservation project and results from a cooperation with the Royal Castle in Warsaw. It features the Gemäldegalerie’s own collection of Bellotto’s paintings, itself the largest in the world.

The show presents Bellotto’s life and work by tracing the most important phases and milestones of his career. After formative years in Venice, he came to Dresden in 1747 and painted large-scale vedute for the Saxon elector and Polish king, Augustus III, as well as for his prime minister, Count Heinrich von Brühl. Bellotto’s paintings continue to offer unique insights into the architecture and life of the royal capital of Saxony as well as the nearby town of Pirna and the fortresses of Sonnenstein and Königstein. After working briefly at the courts of Vienna and Munich, in 1766 Bellotto took up residency in the royal city of Warsaw, painting numerous views of that city until his death in 1780.

Several etchings by the master present another side to Bellotto as printmaker and entrepreneur. The prints stem from Dresden’s Kupferstich-Kabinett, which boasts a remarkably complete collection of the artist’s printmaking oeuvre. Further enriched with drawings loaned from Warsaw and Darmstadt, the survey show reveals the range of Bellotto’s lively pictorial innovations. Also on view are books, porcelain objects, sculptures, and scientific instruments that together create a vivid snapshot of an era that Bellotto, as an artist, helped define.

Stephan Koja and Iris Yvonne Wagner, Zauber des Realen: Bernardo Bellotto am sächsischen Hof (Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2022), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-3954986774, €48.

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