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Exhibition Review: Canaletto’s Venice Revisited at National Maritime Museum from 1 April to 25 September 2022

The National Maritime Museum, London presents a major new exhibition entitled Canaletto’s Venice Revisited which explores some of the most iconic view paintings of Venice and how the tourism which helped establish Canaletto’s career, today threatens the city’s future.

At the heart of the exhibition is the complete set of twenty-four Venetian views from Woburn Abbey, painted by Canaletto for Lord John Russell, the 4th Duke of Bedford, in the 1730s. This is the first time the paintings, thought to be Canaletto’s largest single commission, will be on display in their entirety outside of their ancestral home at Woburn Abbey. The collection includes twenty-two smaller views of Venice, depicting different aspects of the city, including iconic landmarks such as Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal, as well as palaces, squares and churches.

Highlights of the exhibition are Woburn Abbey’s two monumental views of A Regatta on the Grand Canal and The Grand Canal, Ascension Day: The embarkation of the Doge of Venice for the Ceremony of the Marriage of the Adriatic.

These paintings were commissioned as souvenirs following Lord John Russell’s visit to the city as part of the Grand Tour which was considered a rite of passage for the wealthy in the eighteenth century.

Canaletto’s Venice Revisited explores these origins of Venice’s tourist industry through some of the personal objects belonging to the Dukes of Bedford.

The Grand Tour is important to understand Canaletto artist development. His reputation was built on producing a relatively rapid turnover of works of art for the wealthy visiting Venice.

The exhibition highlights the painstaking detail Canaletto used to set his work apart from his competitors.

Canaletto’s three-hundred-year-old paintings highlight the uniqueness of Venice which has changed little over the centuries. However it can considered that his success in promoting Venice as a destination had the consequence that over the last three centuries, tourism has changed the city and its population.

Like a number of cities, Venice faces urgent threats from mass tourism and severe flooding as climate change brings rising sea levels. The exhibition revisits Venice today and considers some of the issues and possible solutions.

The exhibition concludes with the annual Ascension Day festival as recorded in Canaletto’s painting from the Woburn Abbey collection. The festival celebrates Venice’s today often precarious relationship with the sea.

This fascinating exhibition provides plenty of insights into the one of the paradoxes of ancient and historical sights. On one hand, tourism provides wealth and prestige to the local economy but too much tourism and the places become just a time capsule and not a living place. One of the ironies of the exhibition is that Greenwich itself suffers from mass tourism.

Canaletto is often considered just a painter for tourist pictures for the wealthy but a close inspection of the paintings in the exhibition illustrates his often radical approach in painting dynamic and vibrant scenes. His representations of Venice were not always accurate but were mostly full of life and movement.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information , visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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Canaletto’s Venice Revisited Exhibition at National Maritime Museum from 1 April to 25 September 2022

The Grand Canal, Ascension Day: The embarkation of the Doge of Venice for the Ceremony of the Marriage of the Adriatic © From the Woburn Abbey Collection – Canaletto

On 1 April 2022, the major exhibition Canaletto’s Venice Revisited opens at the National Maritime Museum, London, exploring some of the most iconic view paintings of Venice and how the tourism that helped establish Canaletto’s career, today threatens his city’s future.

View of the Grand Canal from the Palazzo Bembo to Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi
© From the Woburn Abbey Collection – Canaletto

At the heart of the exhibition is the complete set of twenty-four Venetian views from Woburn Abbey, painted by Canaletto for Lord John Russell, the 4th Duke of Bedford, in the 1730s. This is the first time the paintings, thought to be Canaletto’s largest single commission, will be on display in their entirety outside of their ancestral home at Woburn Abbey. The collection includes twenty-two smaller views of Venice, depicting different aspects of the city’s urban fabric, including iconic landmarks such as Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal, as well as campi, palazzi and churches.

The Grand Canal, Ascension Day: The embarkation of the Doge of Venice for the Ceremony of the Marriage of the Adriatic © From the Woburn Abbey Collection – Canaletto

Highlights of the exhibition will be Woburn Abbey’s two monumental views, A Regatta on the Grand Canal and The Grand Canal, Ascension Day: The embarkation of the Doge of Venice for the Ceremony of the Marriage of the Adriatic.

These paintings were commissioned as souvenirs following Lord John Russell’s visit to the city as part of the Grand Tour, an educational rite of passage for the wealthy in the eighteenth century. Canaletto’s Venice Revisited will explore these origins of Venice’s tourist industry through some of the personal objects belonging to the Dukes of Bedford.

The Grand Tour is also important to understanding Canaletto as an artist. His reputation was built on relatively rapid turnover of works of art for Venice’s emerging tourist industry. Canaletto’s Venice Revisited will highlight the painstaking detail Canaletto used to quickly lend vibrancy to his work.

The Orient Line cruise ship Orion (1935) moored in the San Marco Basin seen from the Piazza San Marco at Venice, Italy © National Maritime Museum, London circa 1936-1939

While Canaletto’s three-hundred-year-old paintings give the impression of an unchanging and enduring city, Venice today faces urgent threats from mass tourism and severe flooding as climate change brings rising sea levels. In recognition of these threats, Canaletto’s Venice Revisited will also revisit Venice today through contemporary images of a city at risk.

The exhibition will conclude with the annual Ascension Day festival as recorded in Canaletto’s monumental depiction of the celebration from the Woburn Abbey collection. The festival is a medieval tradition revived from the 1960s and is still performed today, in which a ring is tossed into the lagoon, symbolising Venice’s marriage to the sea. In 2022, this festival will be held on Thursday 26 May. Even though Venice today has a precarious relationship with rising sea levels, the Ascension Day festival is a reminder that the Venetian way of life has always been defined by its lasting relationship with the sea.

For more information , visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Dorothy Wilding Portraits at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from 22 July to 2 October 2022

70 years ago, on 26 February 1952, just 20 days after Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, the first official photographic sitting with the new Queen was granted to the photographer Dorothy Wilding.

Her Majesty The Queen was wearing single pearl earrings and the South Africa Necklace, with a sleeveless dress. The South Africa Necklace was a 21st birthday gift from the Government of the Union of South Africa in 1947.

A total of 59 photographs were taken by Wilding and were the basis of The Queen’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971, as well as providing the official portrait of Her Majesty which was sent to every British embassy throughout the world.

At the 2022 Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, 24 portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding will be on display, alongside items of Her Majesty’s personal jewellery worn for the portrait sittings.

Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from Friday, 22 July to Sunday, 2 October 2022.

For more information, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here