Culture & Cocktails: Venetian Views

By October 2, 2016 No Comments

The romantic and mysterious allure of Venice, Italy, “the city of water,” captivated guests at The San Diego Museum of Art’s Culture & Cocktails event, the museum’s popular sundown series. On Thursday, September 22, guests were dazzled by a night of culture infused with the glamour of Venice featuring art, fashion, cocktails, and games.  This quarter’s after-hours event was named after Venetian Views, the Museum’s collection of works showcasing a city of canals brought to life with irresistible views and luminous watercolors. We sipped on Gin signature cocktails from Old Harbor Distilling Co., inspired by the iconic Basilica di San Marco, along with a full bar. We decorated our own Venetian masks and tried out a 360-degree photo booth. We listened to DJ Gabe Vega spin around the central fountain. We tasted artisan gelato from Bottega Italiana and oven-baked pizza from a firetruck. 


Bernado Bellotto, The Molo from the Basin of San Marco, Venice, ca. 1740. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 

 You can still visit the Venetian Views collection now through November 15, 2016

Venetian Views looks at Venice, the oft-flooded city of canals that has captivated artists and writers for centuries. Shakespeare, Lord Byron, J. M. W. Turner, and John Singer Sargent, among others, have fallen under her spell. In its Renaissance heyday, Venice gave rise to great masters such as Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and Tintoretto. Two centuries later, Venice enjoyed a second artistic highpoint, led by artists known as the vedutisti (view-painters), the greatest of whom were Canaletto, his nephew Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi.


Around 1700, when Venice was well past its commercial and naval prime, the Grand Tour had become immensely popular among the northern European aristocracy, especially in Great Britain. A crucial part of a young gentleman’s education, the purpose of such travels was to study languages, music, etiquette, while acquiring luxury goods and fine art. 


A century later, James A. M. Whistler and contemporaries like D. Y. Cameron reinvented the tradition of Venetian view-painting through printmaking techniques and dramatic interiors. Venice has continued to be an irresistible draw on artists to the present day. The luminous watercolors of Timothy J. Clark, likewise, are the successors to Sargent’s ethereal atmospheres of light, mist, and color. Hovering precariously between dry land and deluge, Venice has enchanted its visitors to the present day.


The next Culture & Cocktails is “The Power of Architecture” on Thursday, November 17 at 6:00 p.m.        

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