Venice is a special place in many ways. This meeting place of oriental and occidental art is bathed in light of a special quality. Maybe this is due to the fact that there is so much water reflecting the daylight and thereby increasing its intensity. Maybe, it is something else, but whatever it is, part of the beauty of Venice is its lovely light.
Artists have long been attracted to portraying Venice. Canaletto portrayed the city almost photographically in his paintings. Guardi captures the city brilliantly by using an almost impressionistic technique. Ruskin captured the beauty of the Venetian architecture scholarly yet attractively. Other artists such as Manet, Monet, Moran, and Turner have also portrayed some of the ‘essence’ of Venice’s attractiveness.
Yesterday, I visited an exhibition of new paintings inspired by Venice by the British contemporary artist Joe Tilson (born 1928). Each of his deceptively simple canvases capture several aspects of what makes Venice attractive for me. Architectural details, coloured patterning like tiles or brickwork, and moonlit skies conspire to evoke the special light an appearance of Venice. His painting is both simple and subtle, and above all visually satisfying.
The exhibition is at Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albermarle Street, London W1S 4BY until 18th May 2019