NOVEMBER 5, ON THIS DAY
Pietro Longhi was a famous Venetian painter known for his miniature genre pieces that exemplified the \”private and the bourgeois\” trend. Popular for their attractiveness and apparent innocence, yet with a hint of light humour, his paintings exhibit the interest in social observation that was distinctive of the Enlightenment. They also have a Rococo sense of intimacy. He occasionally painted portraits and landscapes, and many of his pieces were engraved. His creations, like those of Antoine Watteau, were inspired by meticulously observed figure sketches, many of which are still in existence. Pietro Longhi created a tremendously successful career outside the mainstream of Venetian painting by exploiting his aptitude for watching the world, despite the fact that his talents were not suited to large historical and religious cycles.
Pietro Longhi, a painter and draughtsman, was born on November 5, 1701, in Venice. Alessandro Falca, his father, fostered his innate gift for drawing, and he pursued his education with Antonio Balestra. The St. Pellegrino altarpiece, one of Longhi\’s earliest independent pieces, reflects his Venetian training and roots in its shattered brushwork.
Longhi painted both rural vistas and interiors showing a dignified existence in his mature work. In his day, Longhi enjoyed enormous popularity; he was exalted as a superb naturalist imitator and even favourably compared to Tiepolo. His depictions of 18th-century living were new in a culture that frequently reflected on its past glories and whose contemporary art was almost purely allegorical. His adorable doll-like interiors were admired in the late 20th century. His images have a variety of elements, such as now-unrecognized portraiture, which probably contributed to their appeal.
Many of Pietro Longhi\’s paintings depict Venetians at play; one such scene is a group of people admiring an impressive Indian rhinoceros. A Dutch sea captain brought Clara the rhinoceros to the Netherlands in 1741, and she was sent to Venice in 1751, These two oil paintings by Longhi are similar for the fact that they feature the faces of two men without masks. A text commemorating the event is visible on the right side of the composition. This painting shows the thrilling exhibition of the strange animal that became a popular European attraction. Along with the rhinoceros\’ intimidating size (and the magnificent dung he also painted), Longhi\’s image captures the thrill of the audience at these performances.
Longhi\’s history paintings, which explored broad historical themes, marked the beginning of his artistic career. He dedicated himself to painting regular scenes from the lives of the city\’s upper class and bourgeoisie after the unfavourable reception to his work \”Fall of the Giants.\” His early works include a few altarpieces and depictions of religion. An altarpiece for the San Pellegrino church served as his first significant piece of recorded art in 1732. He finished painting the \”Death of the Giants\” murals on the walls and ceiling of the hall in Ca\’ Sagredo in 1734. Longhi received a commission to depict each of the seven Catholic sacraments on seven canvases in the 1750s. These, together with his scenes from the hunt, are currently on display at Pinacoteca Querini Stampalia.
The modest scenes of Venetian households and social life that Longhi painted are well recognised. The majority of his paintings are held in Venice\’s public and private collections. The Venice Academy is home to numerous of his genre paintings as well as a portrait of the architect Temanza; the Palazzo Quirini-Stampalia is home to Daniele Dolfino\’s likeness, \”The Seven Sacraments,\” \”Temptation of St. Anthony,\” as well as other genre paintings and portraits. The Exhibition of a Rhinoceros in an Arena, Domestic Group, The Fortune-Teller, and the portrait of Chevalier Andrea Tron are all owned by the National Gallery in the United Kingdom. Two genre pictures are located at Hampton Court Palace, and additional works can be found in the Richter and Mond collections.