Room 39

Spain and Venice 1700-1800

In 1700, the French Bourbon kings took over the Spanish throne. They employed foreign painters such as Corrado Giaquinto, who introduced new painting techniques to Spain. These included the practice of making small preparatory oil sketches for larger paintings. Executed with quick touches of the brush and light colours, they had a strong influence on artists such as Francisco Bayeu.

Growing nationalistic sentiment, however, prompted some artists to look back to 17th-century Spanish painting. Luis Meléndez’s still lifes bear the realism typical of this earlier period. In his portraits, Francisco de Goyareferred to the art of Diego Velázquez for painterly brilliance and the ability
to capture real life and emotions.

In Venice, Francesco Guardi painted impressionistic views of its canals and palaces for English tourists to take home. Pietro Longhi specialised in small-scale paintings recording the everyday life of Venetian upper-class society, as well as street scenes.