We’re switching gears now.
The Versailles Century was led by France, but it played out all over Europe, indeed the world, as we’ll see in due course. This post is the first of several inspired by my travels in Portugal in April of 2016, when I visited Porto and Lisbon after leaving Paris and Versailles. I’m going to bring you words and images about all the Versailles Century art and architecture I found in Europe’s westernmost Latin country. As it happens, Portugal is a great place to see French fine and decorative art because the Portuguese elite was so heavily influenced by French taste. Versailles lovers, don’t despair — there will be many more posts about the Chateau in future!
I don’t know about you, but when I think of 18th century painting, a handful of artists spring immediately to mind. Two that leap fastest are Canaletto (1697-1768) and Bellotto (1721-1780), probably the most famous uncle and nephew artists in history, both known best for their cityscapes. It was my luck that when I visited the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (the National Museum of Ancient Art) in Lisbon, there was a special exhibition of a work by Bellotto. The museum, which we’ll call MNAA for short, went all out to highlight it: