Vistors flock to see Caneletto painting at Sunderland Museum

Coun John Kelly with Canaletto's A Regatta on the Grand Canal

Coun John Kelly with Canaletto's A Regatta on the Grand Canal

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Visitors have been flocking to a Sunderland museum since an exhibition of a world-famous painting opened earlier this month.

More than 10,000 people went to see A Regatta on the Grand Canal, by Venetian-born artist Canaletto, in the first week of Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens’ exhibition.

We did expect a lot of interest in such an important piece of art, but the scale of the response is impressive

Coun John Kelly

The masterpiece is visiting Sunderland this summer from the National Gallery, in London, and is one of just three places in the country to host the painting, which dates to the 1740s.

The exhibition opened on July 11, and visitor numbers over the next week shot up from 5,544 in the seven days previous to 10,365.

Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Coun John Kelly, said: “We did expect a lot of interest in such an important piece of art. But, the scale of the response is impressive.

“Our main intention when planning this exhibition was to share this stunning painting with new audiences in the North East. But with visitor figures like this, there’s undoubtedly an economic impact too.

“It’s probably too early to put a precise figure on that impact but Canaletto is clearly bringing extra people to the city centre.”

The exhibition will run until September 13, and the painting depicts a gondola race during an annual carnival in Venice. Guided tours and events are taking place during the exhibition, giving an insight into Canaletto and his works.

The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible.