The fame of the great eighteenth-century Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697–1768), known as Canaletto, rests mainly on vivid paintings of Venice, his native city. Canaletto’s popularity with English grand tourists and patrons, however, led him in 1746 to travel to England for a period of almost ten years. Featuring over sixty paintings and drawings, this exhibition was the most ambitious survey ever mounted of Canaletto’s time in England. It brought together his views of London, in which he focused on new architecture rather than old, including Westminster Bridge and Northumberland House. Also included were major examples of his patrons’ country houses, such as his splendid views for Lord Brooke, the future Earl of Warwick; the Duke of Richmond; the Duke of Norfolk; the Duke of Beaufort; and the future Duke of Northumberland (whose descendant, the current Duke, graciously lent four paintings). The exhibition also included many of the views of Italian subjects and capricci—fantastical views—that Canaletto is known to have painted in England, largely in response to the vigorous demand of his local patrons.
Yale Center for British Art: October 19–December 31, 2006
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London: January 24–April 15, 2007
The exhibition was co-organized by the Center and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. It was curated by Charles Beddington, independent scholar and former fellow at the Center; the organizing curators at the Center were Julia Marciari Alexander, Associate Director for Exhibitions and Publications; and Angus Trumble, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture. The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.