Venice, one of collector Paul Allen’s favorite cities, is represented in Seeing Nature with scenes of the grand canal, gondolas, and the signature bridges of the Italian city. Among these sumptuous scenes is Canaletto’s The Grand Canal, Venice, Looking South-East from San Stae to the Fabbriche Nuove di Rialto (c. 1738). Canaletto mostly made views of famous sites in Venice for tourists, but lesser-known areas often inspired his finest evocations of the unique poetic qualities of his native city. This handsome stretch of the Grand Canal is lined with the stately palaces of great Venetian families and the lovely church of San Stae, designed by Domenico Rossi. The artist exploited the long, straight vista and raking light to create visual drama. His mastery of subtle Venice-specific effects is revealed in the differentiation of still and ruffled water and in the sun-drenched building facades bleeding into their reflections in the canal.
Last month, a number of works from the Phillips’s permanent collection found themselves in a new setting at the Palazzo delle Eposizioni in Rome. The exhibition will be on view through February 14, 2016, before heading to Barcelona.
Lastly, the native Italian Giorgio Morandi, born in Bologna in 1890, studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna where he trained in the classical Italian and Flemish styles of painting. During his last years there, his style began to change, having been briefly influenced by futurism and other modern trends. The arrangements of objects seen in Still Life, 1953 (shown above) and Still Life, 1950 (shown below) reflect his mature style. His earthy and subdued palette corresponds in tone to the Prendergast piece, which draws a connection between the oldest and the newest work on display here, highlighting the continual influence Italy exerted on these artists who depicted its beauty.
Drew Lash, Curatorial Intern