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"Canaletto: An Imaginary Venice"
2001-02-14 until 2001-04-29
Centre Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona
Barcelona, , ES Spain

The exhibition includes a selection of the painter's original works on loan from museums and private collections in different countries around the world (Spain, France, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). The exhibition presents an approximate total of 100 original works: 55 works by Canaletto, including vedute, capricci and engravings, 40 engravings by Visentini, and a selection of works by other of the painter's contemporaries, such as Bellotto, Carlevarijs, Marieschi, Guardi and Bernardo Canal. It also includes other, complementary materials, such as sketches and photographic reproductions, which will serve to explain the theory of the exhibition.

INTRODUCTION SPACES OF THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition is divided into three spaces:

The first part brings together 31 etchings produced by Canaletto between 1740 and 1744, including vedute (views) and capricci.

Canaletto, breaking away from his predecessors, created a kind of summa which brought together and combined the topographical view, the capriccio of ruins and the landscape capriccio, with the intention of pointing up the complementary nature of the genres of vedute and capricci, thereby giving the lie to their exclusivity, which was proclaimed almost unanimously by scholars.

The central body of the exhibition is devoted to the paintings of Canaletto, including twenty works, the majority on canvas and the rest on paper.

This sector also includes works by other great Venetian landscape artists: Luca Carlevarijs, Bernardo Bellotto, Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi and Bernardo Canal, prioritising those which allow a direct comparison with the Venice of the Master.

Lastly, in the final section, we find forty engravings from the Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores, the exhibition of etchings with which Antonio Visentini (1688-1782) translated the most significant exact views painted by Canaletto between the late twenties and early forties.

The publication of the album played an important part both for the international promotion of Canaletto and the absolute novelty of combining these images, in a sequence which marked a turning point in the way of seeing the city. The creation of an itinerary proposed by this sequence of engravings, with the backdrop of a landscape which becomes the foreground of the next, was evidence of a totally attitude to the city.

The Canaletto-Visentini anthology was not content with cataloguing memorable facades; it actually penetrated to the essence of the urban fabric, drawn together around its famous buildings. The image of Venice invented by Canaletto and engraved by Visentini was not the real city, and the optimistic function of the viewpoint changed its meaning: rather than celebrating a past of immemorial superiority, it anticipated a different scope for a society which was perhaps regenerated, but definitely more civic.

CATALOGUE

Two editions of the same catalogue will be published, one in Spanish and one in Catalan, with reproductions of all the works displayed and texts by André Corboz, Lionello Puppi, Dario Succi and Annalia Delneri, with a further eighty images for reference.


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