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The Grand Tour: Prints from Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, and London

September 27 through November 23, 2014

EX.grandtourFrom the middle of the seventeenth century through the turn of the twentieth, wealthy Europeans and Americans took the Grand Tour of Europe’s historic sites, museums, and music halls to cap their cultural educations. Rome, Venice, and Florence were the most popular places on the lengthy tour because of Rome’s antiquity, Florence’s association with the Renaissance, and Venice’s distinctive scenic beauty. Americans and provincial Europeans added stops in London, Paris, and other cultural capitals. The most leisurely also visited Greece and Egypt.

In the days before photography, many tourists purchased paintings and prints of local landmarks as souvenirs. This exhibition features a few views of Grand Tour cities, including images by Canaletto and Whistler. Canaletto’s real and imagined views of Venice were among the most popular of eighteenth-century images sought by tourists in the artist’s native Venice. Whistler was a traveller himself. The American expatriate artist lived in Venice, Paris, and London. His prints were popular with art collectors and the last wave of wealthy travelers on the Grand Tour.

Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.

Charles Meryon (French, 1821–1868), La Pompe Notre-Dame, 1852, etching and drypoint on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Jr. in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Sr., 1983.12.2