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Details of gondola on a Venice canal
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

The Palladian revival in Venice

In the eighteenth century scholars and architects across Europe, especially in Britain, consciously sought to revive the architectural principles of the sixteenth-century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-80). His work celebrated the simplicity and classical proportions of ancient Roman architecture, and many of his most important buildings are found in Venice.

Smith was a passionate advocate for the revival of interest in Palladio’s work. His Pasquali press published and distributed important Palladian texts, including a new edition of Palladio’s architectural treatise, the Four Books of Architecture. The Pasquali bookshop on Campo San Bartolomeo and Smith's palazzo on the Grand Canal became meeting places for the Venetian literati, where the latest Enlightenment ideas could be discussed, especially in the fields of literature, science, mathematics and architecture.

Smith also commissioned Canaletto, Francesco Zuccarelli and Antonio Visentini to make a series of overdoor paintings celebrating Palladio’s architecture in Venice and important Neo-Palladian examples in Britain such as Burlington House, London.

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