Romping through the 18th century

In Art and history by Roger Thomas

The Casanova exhibition at the Legion of Honor art museum in San Francisco offers a delightful visual romp through the 18th century.
It is a well-researched collection of art objects and painting reflecting the adventures and travels of Venice’s most famous citizen, courtier and rake.
In one portrait, of the famed actress mother of one of his conquests by Nattier, the subject is wearing that artist’s signature shade of blue.
Exquisite examples of Venetian scenes by Canaletto, gathered from far-flung museums, create a delightful, never-to-be-seen again assembly of veduta.
Subtle references and playful suggestions abound. You must read the labels to discover the coincidences and connections among Casanova’s widely scattered travels and paramours.
All in all a rich and enthralling view of Europe in its most pivotal century, when both the invention of luxury and revolution changed our world.

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