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Bernardo Bellotto, Veduta di via Krakowskie Przedmieoecie dalla colonna di Sigismondo III, 1767 olio su tela Varsavia, Castello reale, foto Andrzej Ring and Bartosz Tropilo
Bernardo Bellotto, Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, olio su tela, Collezione privata
Bernardo Bellotto, La Chiesa di Santa Croce, olio su tela, Varsavia, Castello reale foto Andrzej Ring and Bartosz Tropilo
Bernardo Bellotto, Pirna dalla riva destra dell'Elba olio su tela Dresda, Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Foto: Hans-Peter Klut
Bernardo Bellotto, Veduta di Varsavia dal sobborgo di Praga, Acquaforte, Dresda, Kupferstichkabinett - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Bernardo Bellotto, Il "palazzo in villa" Liechtenstein a Vienna visto da est, 1759/60, olio su tela Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna Olio su tela, cm 100x160
Until 15 April 2012 the exhibition rooms of the 16th-century Palazzo Sarcinelli (Conegliano, Italy) hosts artworks by BERNARDO BELLOTTO (1722-1780) and the major view painters of the 18th century. The exhibition, curated by Dario Succi, – through 70 artworks – traces the entire artistic life of one of the greatest representatives of Venetian view painting, who was able to take advantage masterly of the discoveries and technical achievements of his uncle Antonio Canal -called Canaletto-, especially having been trained in his workshop from 1736.
The exhibition features important private and public Italian and foreign institutions granting on loan their masterpieces, namely, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Palazzo Barberini in Rome, the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, the Galleria Nazionale in Parma, the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe of the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, the Civica Raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli in Milan.
Bernardo Bellotto’s artistic development will be surveyed through the fundamental stages of his career, from the views of Venice and other Italian cities – Florence, Rome, Milan, Turin – to the views of the European capitals, such as Dresden, Vienna, and Warsaw. The exhibition starts from Bellotto’s early paintings dedicated to the city of Venice, in which the typical stylistic qualities of the master can be found. Whereas in the Rio dei Mendicanti and the Scuola di San Marco, belonging to the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, the view still shows the influence of Canaletto’s models deriving from his training, in other paintings, such as the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the artist reveals his style, characterised by an accurate definition of architectural structures, silver brightness, strong shadings, and emerald green water.
His first stay in Dresden, from 1747 to 1758, is remembered through three huge (135 x 240 cm) and beautiful paintings coming from the well-known Gemäldegalerie in Dresden and representing the city of Pirna, on the river Elbe, a few kilometres far from the capital of Sassony. In these paintings, true and proper bucolic landscapes, Bellotto focuses on the idyllic character of the rural zone crossed by the big river. The masterpiece from the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, The Liechtenstein Garden Palace in Vienna, seen from the East is representative of the Viennese period. The oil on canvas dated between 1759 and 1760 is an example of how Bellotto – son of the Venetian view painting tradition – overtook the mere documentary representation of the Viennese palazzos and gardens, characterising Austrian painting of the age. Bellotto painted the view in a baroque theatrical perspective, placing in the foreground the figures to be the main characters of the scene – in particular, the prince Josef Wenzel, his consort and another lady – the gardens extending behind them and, in the background, the belvedere and the palazzo.
The Polish period (1767-1780), the last of Bellotto’s stylistic evolution, will be analysed deeply. Once he left Dresden with the aim to reach Saint Petersburg, Bellotto stopped in Warsaw where he became court painter for the King Stanislaw August. The king’s protection helped him to regain the wealth and professional status partly lost during his second stay in Dresden (1762-1767). The ambitious Polish king had invited many artists from the biggest European centre to joint the new born Academy of Fine Arts and form a prestigious collection. Among Stanislaw August’s projects there was the building of the Castle of Ujazdow, for which Bellotto painted his first views of Warsaw and a cycle of sixteen Roman views dating 1768-1769, inspired by Giambattista Piranesi’s engravings. The idea to match the images of Warsaw and Rome arose at the court, maybe thanks to Bellotto himself, since in those years the Polish capital was characterised by a great moment of splendour. At the end of the 18th century, Warsaw, with over 100,000 inhabitants, was one of the most populated city of Europe: its development had been fostered by a financial class linked to aristocracy and considering the court as the heart of a cultural and scientific life able to increase its status beyond the national borders.
Bellotto’s Polish views are featured by genre scenes and their realism and exemplified in some masterpieces to be exhibited in Conegliano, namely the The Church of the Holy Cross, and the Krakowskie Przedmieście Street taken from the Zygmunt III Column, coming form the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Bellotto painted with special accuracy the details of city architecture and the portraits of some characters, giving his artworks a great documentary reliability. In the Wilanów Palace seen from the Garden – at Palazzo Sarcinelli as well – the artist portrayed the eighty-year old August Czartoryski, Stanislaw August’s uncle, with his wife Maria Zofia, his daughter Izabella Lubomirska and his granddaughter Julia, upon the king’s request who wished to pay tribute to his mother Konstancja’s family.
Special attention will be given to the section dedicated to the engravings, comparing the paintings and the marvellous etchings of which Bellotto was one of the greatest masters of his age. Full of amusing scenes of popular daily life, the engravings – the greatest part of them of big dimensions – will give us back the 16th-century images of Dresden and Warsaw. In one of them Bellotto portrayed himself, next to King Stanislaw August, while painting a view of the Polish capital.
The exhibition is completed by a limited, but of an outstanding quality, selection of artworks by the great masters of view painting, such as Canaletto, Carlevarijs, Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, Bernardo Canal