In the early 18th century, Canaletto’s reputation as an expert landscape artist was growing. But it was by chance that the 4th Duke of Bedford met Joseph Smith, Canaletto’s agent in Venice, and requested paintings of the city’s landmarks. Canaletto set to work on the project, which at 23 paintings turned out to be his largest set ever, and only completed the series after nine years. Captivating views of the the Grand Canal and Saint Marco, along with unknown corners of the city, capture a world both glistening and calm. The paintings arrived in Britain soon after their completion, and have stayed at Woburn Abbey since the 1730s. This exhibition sees the paintings leaving their home for the first time—a momentous occasion. Here is Venice in all its splendor, enjoying its last decades as the “most serene Republic.” —E.C.
Holburne Museum Great Pulteney St, Bath BA2 4DB, United Kingdom Get Directions »