Jean-Marc Nattier, “Thalia, Muse of Comedy,” 1739, oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 49 inches, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Renowned today as a seducer and an adventurer, Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was known to his contemporaries as a charming and witty conversationalist, an expert on many topics, and an international man of letters.

“He was also a gambler, a spy, and one of history’s greatest travelers,” The Legion of Honor, San Francisco, writes of Casanova. From February 10 through May 28, the museum will be presenting approximately 90 incredible artworks during “Casanova: The Section of Europe.” Including paintings by Canaletto, Pietro Longhi, William Hogarth, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and François Boucher; sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon; works on paper by Giovanni Battista Piranesi; period furnishing, delicate porcelains, silver, and period costumes, the exhibition seeks to bring the world of Casanova to life.

Louis Jean François Lagrenée, “Mars and Venus, Allegory of Peace,” 1770, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 21 1/8 inches, J. Paul Getty Museum
Jean-Antoine Houdon, “Voltaire,” 1778, marble, 14 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 8 3/8 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, “The Empire of Flora,” circa 1743, oil on canvas, 28 1/4 x 35 inches, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
François Boucher, “Companions of Diana,” 1745, oil on canvas, 46 1/8 x 36 1/8 inches, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

“Of special note are three tableaux, illustrating, respectively, a visit to a convent in Venice, a morning toilette in Paris, and a dissipated night of cards in London — scenes composed of mannequins in 18th-century costumes amid period furniture,” the museum continues. “Thematic threads running through the exhibition include travel; courtship and seduction; theater and identity; and the pleasures of dining.”

To learn more, visit the Legion of Honor.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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