Casanova: The Seduction of Europe
Frederick Ilchman and Thomas Michie
A re-creation of the glorious and seductive visual world of eighteenth-century Europe through the life of one of its most notorious figures.
In 18th-century Europe, the shape-shifting libertine Giacomo Casanova seduced his way across the Continent. Although notorious for the scores of amorous conquests he recorded in his remarkably frank memoirs, Casanova was just as practised at charming his way into the most elite social circles. In his travels across Europe and through every level of society from the theatrical demimonde to royal courts, he was also seduced by the visual splendours he encountered. This volume accompanies the first major art exhibition to recreate Casanova’s visual world, from his birthplace of Venice to the cultural capitals of Paris and London and the outposts of Eastern Europe. Summoning up the people he met and the cityscapes, highways, salons, theatres, masked balls, boudoirs, gambling halls, and dining rooms he frequented, it provides a survey of important works of eighteenth-century European art by masters such as Canaletto, Fragonard, Boucher, Houdon and Hogarth. Twelve essays by prominent scholars illuminate multiple facets of Casanova’s world as reflected in the arts of his time, providing a fascinating grand tour of Europe conducted by a quintessential figure of the eighteenth century as well as a splendid visual display of the spirit of the age.
Frederick Ilchman is Chair, Art of Europe, and Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Thomas Michie is Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. C. D. Dickerson is Curator and Head of Sculpture Department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Esther Bell is Curator of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.