ART / Critical Round-Up: The Glory of Venice at the Tate

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The Independent Culture
'IT IS ONE of the many strengths of the exhibition that artists hitherto underplayed, such as Domenico Tiepolo, Carlevaris, and Longhi, even Bellotto and Piazzetta, now come into their own . . . The drawing of heads by Piazzetta . . . is a revelation but it is the greatest pity that more was not made of the drawings of Longhi, here represented by two indifferent examples.' William Packer, Financial Times

'Overall, 18th-century Venetian art exhibits a high degree of skill and ingenuity, but not enough intensity. There's precious little that leaps off the wall or sticks in the mind. Ultimately, what this show charts is the emergence of a new and very ingratiating art form. You could call it visual muzak.' James Hall, Guardian

'Invariably in such historical surveys there are attempts to re-write art history. On this occasion Giovanni Battista Piazzetta has been selected for the big push. Tiepolo was influenced by him . . . but in Gallery Three where Tiepolo comes into his exuberant maturity, the melodramatic Piazzetta's equal billing exposes him as a plodder by comparison.' John McEwen, The Sunday Telegraph

'As you leave, you will notice the work of Antonio Canova, a latterday Jeff Koons now beloved by us, inexplicably, for the simpering kitsch of The Three Graces. Fortunately, that room is so dark Canova cannot diminish the radiance that has gone before. In a fruitful year, The Glory of Venice is a majestic triumph.' Daniel Farson, The Daily Mail

'The underlying message of the Glory of Venice is that great art can be entirely meaningless. The whole show is an apologia for superficiality . . . The nudes, of which there are enough to fill a hundred Playboys, are particularly listless even by Venetian standards. Most of the exhibition - when it is in the hands of the ridiculous Sebastiano Ricci, Jacopo Amigoni, the erratic Tiepolos senior and junior, and Canova - is set in a mythological cloud-cuckoo-land, somewhere pleasureful up in the sky, a land of ruins and peacocks, a Venetian Alton Towers.' Waldemar Januszczak, The Sunday Times

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