National Gallery of Art Washington Presents Venice Canaletto and His Rivals

. January 9, 2011 . 1 Comment

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, will present 21 of Canaletto’s finest paintings of Venice with 34 by his most important contemporaries, including Gaspar Vanvitelli, Luca Carlevarijs, Michele Marieschi, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi, in Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals, on view from February 20 through May 30, 2011, in the East Building. These dazzling cityscapes represent the best view painters of Venice—each responding to the city in his own way, and each competing in a market driven largely by the British Grand Tour, at its height during the 18th century.


Canaletto, The Entrance to the Grand Canal, looking West, with Santa Maria della Salute, about 1729 © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Robert Lee Blaffer Memorial Collection, gift of Sarah Campbell Blaffer (56.2)

“Unlike previous exhibitions on Venice or Canaletto, this one focuses on rivalries that pitted the artist against his fellow painters. Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to compare their differing portrayals of the same or similar sites or monuments. We are deeply grateful to our supporters for making this landmark show possible,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

The entrance to the exhibition will feature a 35-foot-long gondola that once belonged to the American painter Thomas Moran and is now in the collection of the Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA. One of the world’s oldest gondolas, it will visually “transport” visitors to the lagoon city celebrated in the views of Canaletto and his rivals.

The convergence of art and science will be represented in a monumental first edition of Iconografica Rappresentatione della Inclita Città di Venezia (1729), one of the greatest printed maps of cities, and two 18th-century examples of the camera obscura, an optical device likely to have been used by the view painters.

Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the sole U.S. venue for the show, and the National Gallery, London, where it is on view through January 16, 2011.

The exhibition in Washington is made possible by the Bracco Foundation, which promotes cultural, scientific, and artistic expressions to improve the quality of life.

“The Bracco Foundation is honored to support this extraordinary exhibition of Venetian view paintings, which reproduce all of the landscape details so accurately, they evoke the presumed use of the camera obscura,” said Diana Bracco, president of the Bracco Foundation. “Combining art and science as two related facets of seeing and understanding, this project represents a continuation of our support of the artistic and cultural heritage of Italy, and our mission to spread the knowledge and appreciation of art, culture and science throughout the world”.

It is also made possible through the generous support of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Additional support is kindly provided by Sally Engelhard Pingree and The Charles Engelhard Foundation.

It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 842-6176, or visit the Gallery’s Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ngadc

Category: Fine Art

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. The Original Grand Tour | The Grand Tour-Nikki in Italy | March 11, 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.