For over a millennium, the Italian coastal state of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, or La Serenissima, flourished as a center for sea trade and the arts. It also became an important destination on the Grand Tour. Venice’s impressive skylines and unique network of canals, palaces, and churches inspired artists, especially during the eighteenth century. Today, collections throughout North America hold many works from this prolific period.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art presentedLa Serenissima: Eighteenth-century Venetian Art from North American Collections September 9, 2010–January 2, 2011. Originated by OKCMOA, La Serenissima brought together approximately 65 works from more than 25 collections. Together, these works covered eighteenth-century Venetian art in the age of the Grand Tour and through the decline of the Republic, brought about by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in the last decade of the century.
La Serenissima highlighted mythological, biblical, historical, and genre works by artists such as Pietro Longhi, Sebastiano Ricci, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and his son, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo. It also contained works by Venetian view painters, including master painter Antonio Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, Luca Carlevarijs, and Francesco Guardi. These artists created exquisite paintings of Venice’s streets and waterways that had a broad appeal and influenced many artists living both in and outside of Venice.