What is thought to be Canaletto’s largest single commission, of 24 Venetian paintings, will be coming to London for the first time this Spring.

Opening in April at the National Maritime Museum, the exhibition, Canaletto’s Venice Revisited, will show off some of his most famous views of Venice, and look at how the tourism that helped establish Canaletto’s career now threatens the city’s future.

At the heart of the exhibition is the complete set of twenty-four Venetian views from Woburn Abbey, painted by Canaletto for Lord John Russell, the 4th Duke of Bedford, in the 1730s. This is the first time the paintings, thought to be Canaletto’s largest single commission, will be on display in their entirety outside of their ancestral home at Woburn Abbey.

The Grand Canal, Ascension Day (c) From the Woburn Abbey Collection

Bookmarking the exhibition will be two of Woburn Abbey’s monumental views of Venice that were commissioned by Lord John Russell as souvenirs following his visit to the city as part of the Grand Tour. The context of the Grand Tour is also important to understanding Canaletto as an artist. His reputation was built on a relatively rapid turnover of breath-taking works of art for Venice’s emerging tourist industry.

Apart from displaying the paintings in London for the first time, the exhibition will also encourage visitors to look beyond the ‘view painting’ and look more closely at how Canaletto brought life to otherwise static scenes.

The display of these 24 masterpiece paintings is only possible because Woburn Abbey is currently closed for a major conservation project, so is lending its artworks to other galleries during its closure. Woburn Abbey is expected to open in early 2024.

The exhibition, Canaletto’s Venice Revisited will open at the National Maritime Museum on 1st April and run until late September.

Tickets cost £10 for adults and are on sale now from here. In addition, if you book Cutty Sark or Royal Observatory tickets you get half-price entry to Canaletto’s Venice Revisited.


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