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Vedute: Framing Europe in Old Master Prints

This exhibition examines the fascination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century artists with recording Europe’s landscapes and the architectural monuments of its cities in prints available for sale to travelers. The Italian term veduta (plural, vedute), or view, is traditionally given to cityscapes produced during the eighteenth century by artists like Piranesi and Canaletto, whose names are still synonymous with views of Rome and Venice. But in addition to works by these eighteenth-century artists, this exhibition also includes earlier works, showing some of the origins of interest in depicting European landscapes.

With Italy’s rise to eminence as the center of the art world during the sixteenth century, artists from the north of Europe, especially the Netherlands and Flanders but also France and Germany, began to travel to Rome. Initially, these artists were self-supported or sent by wealthy patrons, but some later came to Rome as holders of scholarships to various art academies founded there by foreign governments during the seventeenth century. These artists were taken by the unique light and dramatic landscapes they encountered as they crossed the Alps, and of course by the splendor of ancient Rome itself, to which many of the prints here attest.

Andrew C. Weislogel
Assistant Curator / Master Teacher