Artistic Venice from the 18th century will overtake the National Galleries of the Grand Palais from Sept 26, 2018 to Jan 21, 2019 with an unprecedented exhibition mixing visual arts, echoes of music, dance, and stage.
Paintings, opera, decorative arts, theatre, and music—it's the first time that a celebration of 18th century Venice, in all its effervescent artistry, has been organized in Paris. Conceived in collaboration with la Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, this great panorama of the century's art explores all facets of the Venetien civilization at its height, shining a new light on its influence on European culture.
The first part of the exhibition, a total look at the little republic, reconstitutes the unique atmosphere of Serenissima (Venice's old title), the most festive city in Europe. Visitors flocked to taste the joie de vivre of the canal-woven city—the biggest names in music were associated with Venice, from Vivaldi to the castrato Farinelli. The Ospedali (young orphaned girls) learned the art at dozens of theatres, institutionalizing opera. Venice is synonymous with offical festivals and sumptuous feasts, not to mention the decadent pleasures of the Carnival and the Ridotto (casino), where the mask allowed an unparelled social mixing.
The Influence of Venetian Rococo
As shown in the second part of the exhibition, Venetian art was also an influential export. The diaspora of Venetian artists were snatched up quickly by European patrons, aching for their services. The school of Venetian rococo—rocaille in French—notably took root in the Holy Roman Empire, where Giambattista Tieppolo created the vaulted ceiling above the staircase of the Wurzburg residence. And there are the vedute (magnificent large-scale paintings, particularly of cityscapes), popular among non-Venitians in particular, for which Canaletto was particularly known.
The third part explores the myth of Venice, which strengthened at the same time that the city began its economic decline. While Goldoni (the architect of the modern Italian comedy) analyzed the contradictions of contemporary society in his plays, Pietro Longhi depicting daily life on his canvases, punctuated with masked silhouettes of a bourgeoisie obsessed with entertainement.
A route of rich sensations
Macha Makeieff, the artistic director of the exhibit, imagined a lively visit through this dazzling Venice where comedians and musicians perform in real time to match the paintings, sculptures, ornaments, and other designs of the exhibition. With regular nighttime tours, visitors can plunge deeper into the strange atmosphere of the City of Masks.