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Troubled waters: Paintings show Venice in decline – Features, Art – The Independent

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Photos MORE PICTURES FROM THE EXHIBITIONTroubled waters: Paintings show Venice in decline – Features, Art – The Independent.

Within three decades of the death of Canaletto in 1768, the assiduous painter of Venetian cityscapes, Venice itself, that great maritime empire of yesteryear, was finally humbled and sacked by a tempestuous, megalomaniacal Corsican called Napoleon Bonaparte.

 

In 1797, the great bronze horses of San Marco, which had themselves been pillaged from Constantinople by the rampantVenetians during the Fourth Crusade, were dragged back to Paris (along with a great deal more cultural loot) to adorn the newly refurbished capital. The glory that had once been Venice had finally passed, like a breath on the wind. The sometime Queen of the Adriatic, now toothless, would henceforth live the afterlife of a brilliant, powerless spectacle. Robbed of political clout, it would decline into the sweetest place on earth for partying and romancing and dreaming. And, every second summer, for a good deal of art blether too.

 

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October 19, 2010 - Posted by | art, culture, history | , , , ,

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