Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni


1701(2)-1785 - Painter in Venezia

First child of a silversmith, Pietro Longhi (born Pietro Falca) started his career as a painter with the usual religious themes, and this was basically the "bread 'n butter" of most painters at the time.

But he also went on to describe some way of life in Venice, and this included the Carnival and the Ridotto, the local Casino, images for which he is most widely known nowadays.

His clients were for sure the elite of the time, so he adapted his topics to please the buyers ... he also had eleven children to feed!

I find his Carnival paintings based on the same images, same stereotypes, same patterns extensively repeated, sort of a monochromatic world.

And this very likely worked to make his customers happy, who knows.

But there are a couple of very positive things I find about his art, besides the fact he certainly was a good painter, had an "excellent hand":

  • Longhi proposes the masked/Carnival people as being part of everyday life in Venice at the time (as it likely was)
  • Longhi also shows the other part of the Venice population, the "not so rich", and the poor one - how they present themselves in everyday situations - not with pity or disdain, but with a curious eye.

One of Pietro's sons was Alessandro Longhi (1733-1813), who followed in his father's trail, did his apprenticeship with Giuseppe Nogari, and he's known for his oil portraits of the Venetian nobles (i.e. the Pisani family), and his unusual etching technique, more in the Rembrandt's style, according to some analysts.

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