Skip to Content
Vittore Carpaccio: Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice
March 21 – June 20, 2021
West Building, Main Floor

Vittore Carpaccio, Two Women on a Balcony, c. 1492/1494, oil on panel, Musei Civici Veneziani, Museo Correr, Venice

A leading figure in the art of Renaissance Venice, Vittore Carpaccio (c. 1460/1466–1525/1526) is best known for his large, spectacular narrative paintings that brought sacred history to life. Although for centuries he has been loved and celebrated in his native city for his observant eye, fertile imagination, and storytelling prowess, this exhibition marks the first retrospective of the artist ever held outside Italy. In a focused selection of some 45 paintings and 30 drawings, large-scale canvases painted for charitable societies will be seen alongside smaller works that originally decorated the homes of prosperous Venetians. Some of the paintings, notably two celebrated canvases from the Scuola degli Schiavoni in Venice, and the Gallery’s own The Virgin Reading (c. 1505), have been newly conserved for the occasion. The drawings, characterized by a marvelous freshness of invention, include sketches for complete compositions as well as meticulously observed studies for individual figures. A fully illustrated catalog with essays by the curators and other leading scholars will explore the full range of Carpaccio’s creativity.

The exhibition is curated by Peter Humfrey, internationally recognized scholar of 15th- and 16th-century Venetian painting and professor emeritus of art history at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in collaboration with Andrea Bellieni, director, Museo Correr, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, and Gretchen Hirschauer, curator of Italian and Spanish painting at the National Gallery of Art.

Organization: The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Musei Civici di Venezia.

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required.

Other venues: Palazzo Ducale, Venice, July 24–October 24, 2021