Canaletto: Celebrating Britain
22 Oct 2015 – 14 Feb 2016
Bringing together a group of paintings and drawings Canaletto created during his nine-year stay in Britain.
The revered Venetian landscape painter enjoyed a roaring trade from English visitors to Italy in his early career, but by 1740 the War of the Austrian Succession had taken hold and tourism was dwindling. In 1746 Canaletto decided to move to London to be closer to his market.
At this time Britain was flourishing under newfound wealth. A series of landmark architectural and engineering projects saw widespread construction of houses, castles, bridges and churches, changing the national landscape dramatically. In fact, thanks to the clear influence of Mediterranean styles, London earned the title 'the new Venice'.
In a series of works dating between 1746 and 1755, Canaletto captures Britain in its flourishing glory. This exhibition marks the first time they have ever been brought together.
Canaletto's Italianesque depiction of Warwick Castle shows how the artist used light to add a Mediterranean touch to a traditional English scene. Canaletto was particularly taken with this castle, and painted five different views of it during his time in England. The piece was bought for Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with Art Fund support in 1978.