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Indepth Arts News:

"Bernardo Bellotto and the Capitals of Europe"
2001-07-29 until 2001-10-21
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston, TX, USA

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.

IMAGE:
Bernardo Bellotto,
View of the Grand Canal from Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo,
Venice, c. 1745,
oil on canvas,
the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


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