In many parts of Europe there was a proliferation of grand country estates in the late 17th and 18th centuries, reflecting the increasing wealth brought about through the introduction of industry and agricultural reforms. While architects scurried to outdo each other with their grand designs, aristocratic and newly emergent middle class owners sought out artworks of all kinds to decorate their rural mansions as well as their elegant town houses.
The period became known as the Age of Enlightenment, and ideas about taste, science, medicine, economics, literature, et cetera were reflected in a wide range of art forms. Portrait painters were constantly at work, recording individuals and their acquisitions, and connoisseurs avidly collected paintings from earlier centuries, many of which they picked up while on the Grand Tour of Europe.
Grand Designs captures a snapshot of the times, displayed in its own equally grand setting and includes works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Marco d'Oggiono, Lavinia Fontano, Thomas Gainsborough, Luca Giordano, Pietro Paolini, Guido Reni (pictured above), Salvator Rosa, and others.
Information cards offering more detailed information about the artworks in Grand Designs are available in the exhibition or as a download below:
- Curated by
- Mary Kisler
- Mackelvie Gallery, Mezzanine level
- Free entry