The extraordinary cultural energy of 18th-century Venice

Art, music and architecture flourished in the Republic for the last time

Giandomenico Tiepolo, Carnival Scene, or the Minuet (1754-55) © RMN-Grand Palais / Franck Raux

Although Venice was politically and economically spent by the beginning of the 18th century, in that century it nevertheless easily rivalled, if not surpassed, Paris and London in painting, music and drama; it was an obligatory destination for Grand Tourists—for pleasure as much as education. This book, the catalogue of the exhibition at the Grand Palais of the same name that closed earlier this year, is an arm-chair tour of that city's last and glorious cultural flourishing before its long decline into mass tourism - and the ocean.

  • Catherine Loisel, ed, Éblouissante Venise: Venise, les arts et l'Europe au XVIIIe siècle, Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais, 356pp, €45 (hb)