Friday, August 31

On the Trail of a Lover Boy in the Age of Enlightenment


Exhibition tableau, 18th-century Paris, “A Morning Toilette.” More than 250 paintings, furnishings and objects evoke a Pan-European social scene in which life took on the aspects of theater.
"His parents were actors, his grandfather made shoes; he did not seem born for great things. Giacomo Casanova, though, had assets that outshone the lack of money and title: boldness, wit, a gift for languages, and charm enough to slide into a seat at a cardinal’s dinner table or a countess’s bed. In his native Venice, in glittering Paris, and then across the continent, he reinvented himself as he went, playing the roles of author, courtier, entrepreneur, spy. The actors’ son trod the boards of a different stage, one that stretched from London to Constantinople. The voracious Venetian hovers like a governing spirit over the art of the 18th century in 'Casanova’s Europe,' a vivacious and often ingenious exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts here. Now his name is a bare synonym for sexual prowess, or worse — Casanova went to bed with his own daughter, and several of his romances fell well short of the contemporary bar of affirmative consent. ..."
NY Times
MFA: Casanova’s Europe - Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century (Video)

“Bacino di San Marco, Venice” (around 1738), Canaletto’s painting of boatmen plying the lagoon between San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore.

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