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Rococo and Neoclassical

The Banquet of Cleopatralabel QS:Len,"The Banquet of Cleopatra"

Venice bloomed like La Traviata's Violetta on her deathbed, with a revival of talent to ease her political decline. Someone once called the 18th century the ‘vegetable period’ in art, but if everyone else made turnips, Venice created a charming, elegant stylish ratatouille that became the international fashion of its day.

The transition to iridescent light and graceful forms began with Sebastiano Ricci of Belluno, in his ceiling of San Marciliano (San Marziale). His foil was Giambattista Piazzetta, who disdained colour for chiaroscuro and dramatic zigzagging compositions.

Both proved fertile inspiration for the celebrity decorator of the Rococo era, Giambattista Tiepolo, a virtuoso master of theatrical, buoyant ceilings, narrative, heroic frescoes set in illusionist (quadrata) backgrounds (as in the Palazzo Labia) and dazzling altarpieces (Sant’Alvise). He often worked with his son Giandomenico Tiepolo, who had no heart to continue his father’s heroic style, but instead painted some highly original genre scenes (as in Ca’ Rezzonico).

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A Decline to Remember

Gabriel Bella

Chronicler of Venice's 18th century

Andre Brustolon

Rococco chiseller

Ca' Rezzonico

Museo del Settecento


Master of Venetian views

Antonio Canova

Neoclassical rock star

Rosalba Carriera

Society's pastel portraitist

Gesuati (Santa Maria del Rosario)

A Rococo masterpiece

Francesco Guardi

Painter of atmospheric vedute

Gian Antonio Guardi

Francesco's older brother

Pietro Longhi

Master of Venetian genre scenes

Marianna Carlevarijs

pastel portraitest

Giorgio Massari

Early Rococo and Neoclassical design

Giovanni Maria Morlaiter

Venice's Rococo chisel master

Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto

Chamber opera in the palace

Palazzo Grassi

Neoclassical Palace of Contemporary Art

Palazzo Labia

One of Venice's last masterpieces

Palazzo Michiel del Brusà

The burnt palazzo

Palazzo Mocenigo

Fancy interiors, costumes and perfumes

Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

Decorative Rococo painter

Giambattista Piazzetta

Master of the monochrome

La Pietà

Vivaldi's church and museum

Giambattista Pittoni

Your typical 18th-century Venetian painter

Marco Ricci

Inventor of the 18th-century Venetian landscape

Sebastiano Ricci

Colourful Rococo painter from Belluno

Domenico Rossi

A Rococo pupil of Longhena

San Barnaba and its Campo

Once the vortex of ruined nobles

San Biagio

The Church of the Arsenale

San Maurizio

Now a Museum of Music

San Polo

Starring Tintoretto, GB and GD Tiepolo

San Rocco

The church of the famous Scuola Grande

San Simeone Piccolo

That curious green dome by the station

San Stae

Or Sant' Eustachio

Sant' Alvise

Perhaps the loneliest church in Venice

Sant' Eufemia

Giudecca's oldest church

Santa Maria delle Penitenti

Former refuge for fallen women

Santa Maria Maddalena

A curious little neoclassical church

Scuola Grande dei Carmini

and its paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo

Scuola dell'Angelo Custode

A Lutheran Guardian Angel

Gian Antonio Selva

Architect of La Fenice

Teatro Goldoni

Venice's oldest surviving theatre

Teatro La Fenice

The Phoenix of Operas

Giambattista Tiepolo

Rococo master

Giandomenico Tiepolo

A chip off the old block

Antonio Visentini

Designer and engraver

Francesco Zuccarelli

18th-century painter of lyrical landscapes

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo