Giovanni Antonio Canaletto (1697 – 1768), Piazza San Giacomo di Rialto, 1760 – 69, graphite, pen and brown ink and grey wash on laid paper, with brown ink framing lines, executed using a ruler and compass; the lower edge with inscriptions added on a separate strip of the (seemingly same) paper and joined on the verso. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust).

LONDON - This display will present an outstanding group of around twenty Venetian drawings from The Courtauld’s collection. They evoke the energy and creativity of Venice at a time when the city flourished as one of the great cultural capitals of Europe.

At the dawn of the 18th century, Venice was a magnet for visitors from across Europe, drawn by its architecture, history, and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Many of the artists featured in this exhibition produced works for an international clientele, who avidly collected images of the city, its inhabitants, and its colourful traditions. Landmarks such as St Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal set the stage for Canaletto’s celebrated views of the city’s lively streets and waterways. Piazzetta’s evocative head studies and Giambattista Tiepolo’s playful caricatures depict an early modern metropolis populated by a myriad of characters of different social backgrounds, while Guardi’s panoramic Feast of Ascension Day records the formal splendour and ceremony of the city known as La Serenissima – the most serene.

This display is curated by Marco Mansi, PhD candidate and Print Room Assistant at the Courtauld, under the supervision of Ketty Gottardo, Curator of Drawings.

La Serenissima: Drawing in 18th century Venice is supported by The John Browne Charitable Trust.

The programme of displays in the Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery is generously supported by the International Music and Art Foundation, with additional support from James Bartos.

 14 Oct 2023 – 11 Feb 2024


Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754), Young Woman with a Basket, c. 1740, black and white chalk with stumping on blue (now discoloured) laid paper. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)


Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804),  Hercules and Antaeusc. 1780-1790, black chalk, pen and dark brown ink, grey-brown wash on laid paper. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), Three River Godscirca 1740 - 1745, black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash on laid paper. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)