The Grand Tour in Venice - Page 136

Contemporary art could also be bought at
the open-air exhibitions held on the feast
of San Rocco immortalized by Canaletto
(fig. 91), while in the nineteenth century,
Venetian antique shops provided plentiful
opportunities to collectors such as Isabella
Stewart Gardner and her art adviser Bernard
Berenson, for picking up Old Masters at
bargain prices.
Canaletto is whimsical and varys his prices every
day: and h e that has a mind to have any of his
work, must not seem to be too fond of it, for h e’ll
be ye worse treated for it, both in th e price and th e
painting too. He has more work than h e can doe in
any reasonable tim e and well: but by th e assistance
of a particular friend of his, I get once in two
months a piece sketch d out and a little tim e after
finish ed by force of bribery. I send yr Grace by
Captain Robinson who sails from h ence tomorrow, two
of th e finest pieces I think h e ever painted.
Fig. 92 Damien Hirst, Demon
with Bowl (Exhibition
Enlargement), 2017, painted
resin, 1822 x 1144 cm. Venice,
Palazzo Grassi.
Fig. 91 Canaletto, Venice: The Feast Day of San Roch, ca. 1735, oil on canvas, 147.7 x 199.4 cm, London, National Gallery.
One of the notable developments since
the eighteenth century has been the
establishment of museums in Venice,
beginning with the opening of the
Accademia in 1817, the turning of some
former palazzi such as the Ca’ d’Oro and
Ca’Rezzonico into museums, and the
institutionalizing of former private collections
such as the Correr, the Querini-Stampalia,
and, most notably, the great collection of
modern art formed by Peggy Guggenheim.
Another notable development has been the
Biennale, founded in 1895 and now one of
the most prestigious art events in the world,
and the Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the
world and one of the “big three” film events
along with the festivals in Cannes and Berlin.
There have also been some high-profile
contemporary art exhibitions in Venice
(such as the 2017 Damien Hirst exhibition,
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable)
(fig. 92) which have made a Venice a go-to
place for contemporary art as well as a great
repository of historic treasures.


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