Giovanni Paolo Panini, 'Interior of St. Peter's with the Visit of the Duc de Choiseul,' 1756-57 The Collection of the Boston Athenaeum


Eyewitness Views: Making History in 18th-Century Europe

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat., and Sun. from Sept. 10-Dec. 31
Time Varies
$20; $16 Mia members
Art, Museums

Before social media, newspapers, or photography, historical events were captured by the discerning eyes and sensibilities of artists via paint on canvas. This exhibition, the first to focus on paintings as depictions of contemporary happenings, includes 40-some works that recorded why Venice, Rome, and other European cities made history in the 18th century. Commissioned by those in power, the pieces glorify events through a white, male, European sensibility. Natural disasters, meetings with the pope, royal births, public rituals, and other sacred and secular events are on view, raising lots of provocative questions about memory, manipulation, class, race, civic pride, nature, and culture.