The National Gallery Celebrates a Special Reunion of Bellotto’s Works

The National Gallery Celebrates a Special Reunion of Bellotto’s Works
#Exhibitions

Once obscured by the more luminous fame of his uncle, the master Canaletto, with whom he studied in Venice, Bellotto will be the special guest of Hall 1 at the National Gallery with an exhibition that points a spotlight on an important acquisition from 2017 made by the London gallery. The Königstein Fortress from the North (1756-1758) represents, in fact, the first German view from the XVIII Century to enter the collection. To appreciate the uniqueness of this event, we’ll take a step back, more precisely to 1756, when Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, commissioned the painter to execute five paintings as part of a more ample series of thirty views of Dresden and the surrounding area. Despite Bellotto having already been paid for his work, the paintings, though finished, were never delivered to their patron because of the Seven Years War. Probably arriving in Great Britain whilst the painter was still alive, until 1991, these works were then distributed through three different collections - the Derby Collection, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Manchester Art Gallery. From the looks of it, the Königstein Fortress, southeast of Dresden, seems to have remained intact from the times of Bellotto. The five paintings immortalised it, capturing details, from the stone walls to the soldiers along its bastions, to the women intent on hanging the wash in its courtyard. Applying what he learned in Venice to truly original depictions of the panoramas of Northern Europe, Bellotto brought the tradition of the view in a totally new direction, as his creations show, quite similar to modern photography. As if moving about within the fortress itself, visitors can admire the monumental structure of Königstein, appreciating the contrast between the pastoral calm surrounding it and the hustle and bustle of daily life within its walls.
Samantha De Martin - © 2021 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London