British Nobility on Tour

The National Gallery in London presents the finest assembly of Venetian views since the much-celebrated display in Venice in 1967. Remarkably, considering the dominant role of British patronage in this art form in the eighteenth century , this exhibition is the first of its kind to be organised in the United Kingdom. Bringing together around 60 major loans from public and private collections across Europe and North America, the exhibition highlights the rich variety of Venetian view painting. Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto (1697-1768), was born in Venice, the son of a theatrical scene painter. He was very influential, famed for his precisely depicted and evocative views of the city, vedute, where the name vedute painters originate from. Canaletto’s early pictures for local Venetian patrons are his most accomplished: these carefully designed, individual, and atmospheric studies include. He found that providing formulaic paintings for British tourists was very lucrative. These highly skilled works were produced by him often in collaboration with a workshop. Canaletto was favoured by English collectors. He visited England repeatedly between 1746-56, He may have used a camera obscura for topographical accuracy in creating some of his designs, but he always remained concerned with satisfying compositional design, not simply slavishly recording views. In each room, major works by Canaletto are juxtaposed with those of his rivals and associates, to demonstrate different approaches to similar views of the city. Major rivals on display include Luca Carlevarijs, Michele Marieschi, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi. Also represented are less well-known painters, each responding to the market driven largely by the British Grand Tour. He differed in one aspect, however, because Canaletto also painted views of British cities and buildings.