Piri Halasz reviews the exhibition Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings at The Morgan Library, New York, on view through January 5, 2014.
Halasz finds much to appreciate in "the vedutisti, or view painters. They depicted the streets, canals and buildings of the city, largely (though hardly exclusively) for visitors—not least those aristocratic young Englishmen making the Grand Tour of Europe with their tutors to complete their classical educations. Although the genre of the vedute seems to have originated in Northern Europe, the Venetians made it their own, with its two outstanding practitioners, Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) and Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto (1697-1768). My preference as a rule is for Canaletto, with his serenity and his almost Augustan dignity; Guardi is the more loquacious, employing a lighter, more feathery touch."