Ringling Museum of Art

Venice in the Age of Canaletto. From Oct 8th, 2009 through Jan 10th, 2010.

The view paintings of Giovanni Antonio Canal, one of eighteenth-century Venice’s most important artists, will be among the objects on view in the exhibition Venice in the Age of Canaletto at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Venice in the Age of Canaletto will consider Canal, better known as Canaletto, in context of eighteenth-century Venice, contrasting the artist’s work with that of his contemporaries, including paintings, prints, decorative arts, and furniture.

“The exhibition complements and spotlights the Museum’s rich and diverse collection of Venetian art,” said Alexandra Libby, Assistant Curator of European Art at the Ringling Museum. “It also adds another layer of vibrancy to the international arts and culture being showcased at the Ringling International Arts Festival.”

Producing some of the most familiar artistic products of 18th-century Venice, Canaletto is best known for his paintings, which document immediately recognizable views of the city. Yet, for all their ability to capture Venice’s modern cityscape, his work is cool and detached, standing in stark contrast to the richly colored and exuberant work of his contemporaries Giambattista Tiepolo, Sebastiano Ricci, and Francesco Guardi.

The tension between these contrasting artistic styles is the focal point of the exhibition’s examination of Venice during Canaletto’s time and the cultural movements surrounding his development as a vedutista, or view painter. “The aim is not to take a monographic approach to Canaletto,” said Libby, “but rather to consider him within the Venetian context in an effort to determine what, if anything, might be revealed about the social, religious, political, and artistic milieu of the period.”

With objects from the Ringling collection and approximately 40 loans from across the United States, the exhibition will be organized around four main themes: Staging Venice in which public images of the city will be considered, and in particular their role in fashioning a Venetian identity; Imaging the Intimate: Venetian Genre Painting, which will explore genre scenes that, in contrast to the vedute, depict the public and private lives of their subject in an intimate manner; Private Images for Public Space: Religious Art in 18th-Century Venice, which will focus on works for the church and how ecclesiastical artworks reflected both individual needs and desires as well as popular taste; and Venice Adorned, which will consider the remarkable exuberance of decorative arts and furniture produced in Venice at this time.

As a supplement to the exhibition, there will be an additional installation that celebrates the Ringling’s founders, John and Mable, and their passion for Venice. Exhibiting a selection of their personal photographs, postcards, as well as the plans and models for their beloved Venetian-inspired home, Cá d’Zan, this installation offers the visitor a window into John and Mable’s love affair with all things Venetian, and makes relevant the staging of the exhibition Venice in the Age of Canaletto at the Ringling Museum of Art. 

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, FL 34243

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