World class collection visits Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum

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World class collection visits Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum
View on the Grand Canal: From the Palazzo Bembo to that of Grimani Calerghi, now Vendramini. From the Woburn Abbey Collection.

WORCESTER.- Canaletto: A Venetian’s View arrived at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum on 1 October until 7 January 2022. The exhibition celebrates the wonderful work of Canaletto, featuring stunning paintings on loan from the Woburn Abbey Collection together with artworks from Worcester’s Fine Art Collection and loans from Birmingham Museums, Tate and Compton Verney.

Born in Venice, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768), commonly known as Canaletto, was an important member of the 18th century Venetian school. He became very popular with English collectors, and visited England repeatedly between 1746 – 56.

Canaletto revolutionised the use of colour, ground and canvas and pioneered the technique of painting from life, sitting in front of the subject outdoors as opposed to his contemporaries who completed paintings in the studio. This exhibition explores Canaletto’s work and the impact he had on the generations of artists who followed him.

It is extremely rare for this hugely significant collection to leave Woburn Abbey, and this is the first time the paintings have been united with other examples of Canaletto’s work from Birmingham Museums and Compton Verney. The paintings on display comprise the largest set of paintings Canaletto produced for a single patron, the fourth Duke of Bedford who commissioned the works in the 1730s. They are considered the absolute best of Canaletto’s paintings of Venice. The exhibition is being described as the most ambitious in the history of Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum.

Deborah Fox, Senior Curator at the Art Gallery and Museum commented: “We are committed to bringing great art and artists to the region and through bringing Canaletto to Worcester we are offering a once in a generation opportunity to see these incredible artworks ‘on your doorstep’ as well as creating an opportunity to showcase and reinterpret important works in our own collection.

“We see this exhibition as a wonderful opportunity not only to bring world class art to the gallery, but also to examine its influence on some of Worcester’s best-loved artworks.”

The 20 paintings of Venice on loan from the Woburn Abbey Collection are accompanied by 3 Canaletto works – two views of Warwick Castle on loan from Birmingham Museums and a view of Vauxhall Gardens which would normally hang at Compton Verney, as well as a wonderful work by William Marlow considered to be Canaletto’s natural heir, from Tate.

The influence of Canaletto’s work will be further explored through Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum’s own collection including a beautiful view of Worcester Cathedral by Marlow and works by Paul Sandby, Samuel Prout and Samuel Rowlandson who were all heavily influenced by Canaletto. Worcester’s most famous artist BW Leader will also feature in the exhibition through the inclusion of one of his most famous works February, Fill Dyke – also on loan from Birmingham Museums.

Canaletto: A Venetian’s View at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum will provide the opportunity to see Canaletto’s paintings up close and for the visitor to take a scenic tour of the golden age of Venice through the amazing landscapes.

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