The Grand Tour
By the eighteenth century, the Grand Tour had become an established part of a young aristocrat’s education. Lasting anywhere from several months to several years, a Grand Tour voyage involved visiting the great sites and monuments of Europe. Italy held a particular allure, combining the treasures of classical antiquity with the more recent artistic achievements of the Old Masters.
Many artists responded to the market created by these wealthy visitors. In Rome, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni became the portrait painter of choice for British Grand Tourists, often depicting his sitters alongside the works of classical antiquity they had travelled to admire. Other artists, such as Canaletto in Venice and Giovanni Paolo Panini in Rome, painted souvenir views of their respective cities. Bernardo Bellotto was unusual for enacting a Grand Tour in reverse, taking the meticulous and evocative mode of view painting he had learned in his uncle Canaletto’s studio to the court cities of northern Europe.