To mark the 250th anniversary of Venetian artist Canaletto’s death, 17 18th-century paintings from the Uffizi Galleries’ collections are on display in Palazzo Pitti’s Sala delle Nicchie as part of the Il Settecento: Una Selezione exhibition, which opened on February 7.

The Uffizi’s collection of 18th century art totals over 500 paintings. In this small sampling, which includes works taken out of storage, religious subjects have been consciously avoided, with the exhibition meant to “reflect the complexity of a varied century that saw opposites meet and collide”, according to curator Alessandra Griffo. 

Featured works instead focus on the most commonly visited Italian cities on the European Grand Tour, with the vedute of Venice’s Grand Canal and San Marco honouring Canaletto, alongside views of Florence’s Arno and the gulf of Naples. This fascination with foreign travel and the exotic is maintained in two Turkish scenes commissioned by the Medici: Jean-Étienne Liotard’s leisurely portrait of Maria Adelaide of France dressed in the Turkish style, and a painting of a Turkish fabric merchant by François Rivière. This world is set in opposition to a series of portraits and domestic scenes, including images of children at play and a relaxed portrayal of an artist at home with his family.

The exhibition is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15am to 6.50pm until April 15, 2018.


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