Italian master Canaletto featured in latest exhibition of pictures by British Queen

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-21 05:05:21|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Queen Elizabeth has put on show paintings from her collection by the Italian master Canaletto.

The exhibition "Canaletto and the Art of Venice" opened at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace on Friday, and for the first time in nearly 40 years two series of paintings by Canaletto (1697-1768) are displayed side by side.

The works on display feature paintings first bought by the British King George III in the 1760s from the collector and commissioner of paintings Joseph Smith.

Smith, who was a banker with diplomatic connections in Venice, was a patron and supporter of Canaletto, and helped make the painter from Venice very popular in Britain in the 1750s, when the Venetian lived and worked in the country and produced many works based on views of London.

Canaletto's works were sought after by British aristocrats and wealthy gentry, who would embark on what was known as a Grand Tour of Europe, to see cultural sites.

The Grand Tour would often include Venice, and the wealthy British patrons would buy Canaletto's works inspired by the city to hang in their homes.

Both sets of paintings put on show by the Queen were commissioned by Smith, and he probably intended both series to hang in his home on the Grand Canal in Venice.

Canaletto's most famous views of the Grand Canal are also shown in the exhibition, and these 12 precise and realistic paintings, executed over several years in the late 1720s, create a near-complete journey down the waterway.

From the quayside houses and workshops on the Grand Canal's upper reaches to the bustling festivities around St Mark's Square, Canaletto captured the effects of light on stone and water, and fills each work with a snapshot of Venetian daily life.

Canaletto returned frequently to the subject of the Grand Canal, including a series of six meticulously detailed pen and ink drawings, also on show.

Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), whose pastels were highly prized by European collectors, was one of the first artists to develop a commercial relationship with Smith.

On display together for the first time are Carriera's personifications of the Four Seasons. "Winter", a female figure wrapped in furs, was one of the most admired works in Smith's collection and later hung in George III's bedroom at Buckingham Palace alongside Carriera's pastel "Summer".

The exhibition runs at Buckingham Palace until November.