Kevin Salatino will speak at the Seminar in Renaissance and Early Modern Material Culture on Wednesday, April 3, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Chasing Casanova: Venice and the Grand Tour.”

The Grand Tour was both finishing school and rite of passage for the British (male) aristocrat. As Samuel Johnson noted, “a man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority.” While Rome was “the great object,” Venice was an essential stop on the way. The floating city’s wondrous novelty, its reputation for license and luxury, and its much-touted devotion to liberty were compelling attractions for the Grand Tourist. Famous for its courtesans, its masked revelers, its mystery and secrecy, its appeal inevitably swung toward the sensual and the sexual. This talk addresses the British Grand Tourist’s experience of eighteenth-century Venice in the context of the erotic, through a close examination of that city’s art, as well as texts and cultural artifacts from both sides, Venetian and British.


Kevin Salatino is Chair and Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was previously Director of the Art Collections at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California; Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine; Curator and Head of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Curator of Graphic Arts at the Getty Research Institute. Salatino holds a BA from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his publications are Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe (a revised French edition of which was recently published); Edward Hopper’s Maine; and Blue Boy and Company: European Art at The Huntington. He has published on artists as diverse as Henry Fuseli, Jacques-Louis David, Francisco Goya, Richard Pousette-Dart, and James Ensor, and has lectured extensively on subjects ranging from fireworks to the Grand Tour. Most recently, he curated the Art Institute exhibitions, Shockingly Mad: Henry Fuseli and the Art of Drawing; Gods and Superheroes: Drawing in an Age of Revolution; and Into the Void: Prints of Lee Bontecou.


This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.