Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe is the first exhibition to exclusively examine view paintings—more or less faithful depictions of a given locale—that also depict contemporary historical events. Throughout the 1700s, rulers, princes, ambassadors, and religious dignitaries commissioned these extraordinary works to commemorate key moments in their personal and professional lives. Dramatically staged for the enjoyment of a wide range of spectators, and typically involving sumptuous costumes and elaborate temporary decorations, these events give us insight into the rituals and rare occurrences of a spectacular bygone era.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
The accompanying volume, Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, provides the first-ever comprehensive study of great artists works of then-contemporary events. Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, Luca Carlevarijs, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Francesco Guardi, Hubert Robert—these renowned view painters created many of their most splendid paintings featuring these important events. Little explored by scholars, these paintings stand out by virtue of their extraordinary artistic quality, vibrant atmosphere, and historical interest.
Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, this volume examines paintings alongside the historical events depicted in them. Peter Björn Kerber carefully reconstructs the meaning and context these paintings possessed for the artists who produced them and the patrons who commissioned them, as well as for their contemporary viewers.
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