Venice in Transition: The Memphis Daily News

Stanton Thomas, the Brooks’ curator of European and Decorative Arts, was interviewed by Memphis Daily News contributor Jonathan Devin for an article that ran last Friday. In the piece, Stanton compares 18th century Venice to contemporay Las Vegas — sans all the neon, of course:

“Venice was a city in transition,” Thomas said. “It had been famous for almost a thousand years as ‘the most serene one’ because of its unique location, which meant it was pretty much immune to invasions, major wars, to even plagues.”

But new trade routes to the east around 1700 brought in merchants and tourists who reveled in the city’s relaxed atmosphere.

“I compare Venice then to Las Vegas of today,” Thomas said. “It was a town that was famous for pleasure, for operas, for gambling, for courtesans, for pageants and music.”

Canaletto, born Giovanni Antonio Canal in 1697, was an artistic upstart in Venice at the time.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do this show was I never quite understood how Canaletto fit into the context of Venice proper,” Thomas said. “Canaletto is very staid, very measured, a little detached almost as if you’re looking at it from a distance. Hopefully people will get some sense of trying to fit Canaletto into the context of Venetian art.”

Read the full article here. “Venice in the Age of Canaletto” runs through May 9.

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