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Canaletto: The "must-see show this spring"

11|02|16 ~ On  Sunday, February 20, the National Gallery of Art will present Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals,an exhibit of 20 of Canaletto's finest paintings of Venice and more than 30 others by his most important contemporaries, including Gaspar Vanvitelli, Michele Marieschi, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi. A Washington Post reviewer recently called the upcoming exhibit "the must-see show this spring."

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. The realistic vedute of famous Venetian sites transport viewers to the Venice of the early 1700s.

At a pre-opening viewing of the exhibit yesterday, Italian Amb. Giulio Terzi called the exhibit "an extraordinary event," one that offers “a unique perspective on how 18th century Italians looked at Venice, which in Marco Polo’s legacy is seen as Europe’s door to the Orient: an Italian city calling towards the East.”  Terzi also noted that the exhibition is part of Italy@150, a series of events organized by the Italian Embassy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification.Diana Bracco, Giulio Terzi

National Gallery of Art director Earl A. Powell III, said that "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."

Diana Bracco, President of the Bracco Foundation said she was honored that the Foundation was the official sponsor of the event. "This cultural project reinforces the bond that brought Bracco and the National Gallery of Art together five years ago, in 2006, when Bracco supported a magnificent exhibition devoted to the great Renaissance masters Bellini, Giorgione, and Titian," she said.

The entrance to the exhibition features a 35-foot-long gondola that once belonged to the American painter Details from the gondolaThomas 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 exhibition is curated by Charles Beddington, a leading specialist on Canaletto. It is coordinated at the National Gallery of Art by David Alan Brown, curator of Italian and Spanish paintings.

In honor of the exhibitions Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals (February 20–May 30, 2011) and Italian Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection, 1525–1835 (May 8–November 27, 2011), Chef Fabio Trabocchi has transforming the menu in the Garden Café from February 11, 2011, to March 20, 2012, with signature Italian dishes. Chef Trabocchi has returned from New York to DC to open the highly anticipated restaurant Fiola in Penn Quarter, scheduled to debut this spring.

Slideshow: Views of Venice by Canaletto and his competitors

LINKS: Amb. Giulio Terzi's remarks

Pictured from the top:

Canaletto The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco on Ascension Day, about 1733-4 oil on canvas
Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II © The Royal Collection 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Diana Bracco, President of the Bracco Foundation and Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi.
© CiaoAmerica!)

Details from the Moran gondala (Photo © CiaoAmerica!)

11|02|16 | CiaoAmerica.net |

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