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Wednesdays, November 11–December 9, 6 – 7:30pm*


Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal). Grand Canal: San Geremia and the Entrance to the Cannaregio (detail), mid-18th century. BF831. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes; no class on November 25)

*We encourage you to watch the lectures live, but classes can be streamed anytime after the live session ends. See our FAQ.

About the Class

For young British aristocrats during the 18th century, one important rite of passage was the grand tour—a months-long cultural pilgrimage through France and Italy during which the wealthy traveler got to experience firsthand the art and cultural life of these European centers. As infrastructure across the continent improved, this aristocratic tradition paved the way for tourism as we know it today.

The grand tour was enormously consequential for the art world at the time. The excavation of antiquities in Rome, Pompeii, and Herculaneum opened new markets for art and offered opportunities for European painters to capitalize on their study and training in Italy. Artists like Canaletto set up shops in Venice and Rome where travelers bought souvenir paintings, prints, sculpture, and decorative objects. This class explores a variety of artworks produced during this pivotal era (and beyond) that represent dynamic cross-cultural relationships between tourists and artists.


Suzanne Scanlan

Scanlan is senior lecturer in the Department of Theory and History of Art and Design at RISD. She received her PhD in the history of art and architecture from Brown University and is the author of Divine and Demonic Imagery at Tor de'Specchi, 1400–1500: Religious Women and Art in 15th-Century Rome (Amsterdam University Press, 2018). Her research and writing center on women as artists, patrons, and collectors from the Renaissance to the modern period.