The splendour of Venice and its shimmering light influenced artists, resulting in compelling portraits, atmospheric landscapes of exceptional beauty and sensuous figure studies.
Venetian art has long been associated with brilliant colours and free brushstrokes, but drawing has largely been written out of its history. This exhibition, in collaboration with the Uffizi in Florence, was based on new research. It traced the role of drawing in Venice and its importance over three centuries, dispelling the myth that Venetian artists, including their greatest painter, Titian, had no interest in drawing.
This was the first major exhibition of Venetian drawings in the UK and it includes over 100 magnificent works from the Uffizi, the Ashmolean, and Christ Church, Oxford, by artists such as Titian, Tintoretto and Canaletto.
In a parallel exhibition, Jenny Saville Drawing, one of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Jenny Saville, produced new work on paper and canvas in response to the powerful qualities of Venetian drawing.
The exhibition was open at the Ashmolean Museum 15 October 2015 – 10 January 2016.