Indepth Arts News: |
"Bernardo Bellotto and the Capitals of Europe"
2001-07-29 until 2001-10-21
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Bernardo Bellotto began as a painter of conventional views of
Venice in the manner of his famous uncle, Antonio Canaletto
(1697-1768). But beginning with his earliest independent works,
Bellotto demonstrated that his pictorial interests and ambitions
were different from those of the older painter. Over the years,
Bellotto expanded his range beyond traditional view painting,
venturing into landscape, genre, portraiture, allegory, and history
painting. Significant examples of his work in each of these genres
are included in the MFAH exhibition, along with the more familiar
topographical views and landscapes.
Among the many view painters who flourished in 18th-century
Venice, Bellotto possessed the widest range and succeeded in
enriching the conventions of the painted veduta, or view. The
breadth of his interests surprises us, and his quest to find new
subject matter led him to visit six major cities in northern and central
Italy in the early 1740s. At twenty-five, he left Venice for northern
Europe, never to return. There he spent the remainder of his life
working for royal and aristocratic patrons in Dresden, Vienna,
Munich, and Warsaw.
The exhibition showcases works from the great repositories of
Bellotto's paintings in Dresden, Vienna, Warsaw, and St.
Petersburg, Of the 67 paintings exhibited, nearly a third have been
cleaned and restored for this once-in-a-lifetime showing.
View of the Grand
Canal from Campo Santa Maria
Venice, c. 1745,
oil on canvas,
the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.