Painting of Venice

Venice: Real and Imagined

Nov. 17, 2018Feb. 25, 2019
Huntington Art Gallery, Works on Paper Room

For centuries, Venice has captured the imaginations of artists, writers, and travelers from around the globe. Composed of more than 100 tiny islands and 400 bridges, the city is unlike anywhere else in the world. It was founded in the sixth century by refugees fleeing Germanic tribes who had invaded the Italian peninsula. With buildings constructed on wood pilings driven into mudflats, it is a marvel of engineering. From these swampy beginnings, it grew into a vast trading empire that stretched throughout the Adriatic and Aegean Seas and into mainland Italy. Positioned at the threshold of East and West, Venetian art and architecture flourished as it combined elements of Ottoman and Byzantine visual culture with Italian traditions.

"Venice: Real and Imagined" explores how a truly unique city has enthralled artists, while its otherworldly character has driven many to re-create its seemingly impossible beauty. The exhibition features watercolors and etchings of Venice, Italy, as well as lithographs, photographs, and ephemera that illustrate how the idea of Venice has been incorporated into broader aspects of culture. In particular, the exhibition addresses "Venice of America," a Southern California community founded in 1905 by the tobacco magnate and real estate developer, Abbot Kinney.

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