i James Holland, Grand Canal, Venice, 1814-1870, graphite, watercolour, bodycolour on wove paper. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld.

NEW Built upon Waters: The Sea in Venetian art from Tintoretto to Canaletto

Dr Camilla Pietrabissa

Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 May 2024

NB. All places are currently allocated. Please complete a booking form if you would like to be added to the waiting list.  You may also be interested in Dr Pietrabissa’s on campus Summer School course ‘A Society of Spectacle: Seeing and Being Seen in Eighteenth-century Venice‘  (15-19 July 2024).

Course description

Venice was built on the marshy waters of the Adriatic lagoon and grew to become a maritime empire on the Mediterranean Sea. This study tour centres on Venetian visual culture as a response to this aquatic environment between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries.  We shall consider both the material evidence for the mercantile growth of Venice, but also the sensibility of writers, artists, and architects to the city-state’s fundamental connection to the element of water. Visual representations of the sea by Tintoretto, from his cycle for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, and Canaletto’s serial views of the Grand Canal are only two of many examples we shall see in situ and then discuss, perhaps over spritz while looking at the sunset on the lagoon.

Led by a lecturer resident in Venice, the tour will begin by taking vaporettos around the different viewing points of San Marco bay: the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Punta della Dogana, and the Piazzetta near the Molo. This spectacular area, conceived as a water-oriented scenography, will serve as an introduction to the notion of maritime visual culture. Museum visits will include the lesser-known Naval Historical Museum, with its collection of objects and artifacts from the naval industry, the Gallerie dell’Accademia, filled with masterpieces of Venetian painting, and the Ca’ Rezzonico, a palazzo holding one of the oldest gondolas in existence.

Lecturer's biography

Dr Camilla Pietrabissa is a postdoctoral research fellow at IUAV University in Venice. She holds a PhD from The Courtauld and worked as an assistant curator of graphic arts at the Musée du Louvre and The Courtauld Gallery. She was awarded fellowships at the German Centre for Art History in Paris, at the Fondazione 1563 in Turin and the Zentralinstitut fűr Kunstgeschichte in Munich. Her research and publications focus on the visual culture of eighteenth-century Italy and France and the theory of media, particularly painting and drawing. She is a regular contributor to The Burlington Magazine.