An exhibition of one of the most important paintings in the world has opened today in Sunderland.
The painting, A Regatta on the Grand Canal by Canaletto, is visiting the region as part of the Masterpiece Tour from the National Gallery.
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is one of only three places in Britain showing the painting, which dates to the 1740s.
Depicting an annual regatta in Venice, the highly detailed painting is held as one of the finest works by the Venetian born artist, who was popular amongst English art collectors and was a regular visitor to Britain.
He is considered to have had a significant influence on British art of the 18th Century.
Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “Being able to bring this stunning painting to the North East is an honour. Whether you’re an art lover or not this work is utterly mesmerising.
“We’ve got all sorts of events and guided tours planned to give everyone the chance to get a real insight into the artist and why this painting is considered so important.”
The exhibition of A Regatta on the Grand Canal at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens will run until Sunday, September 13 and will be shown alongside panoramic river paintings from Sunderland’s own collection.
Dr Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said: “We hope that the tour of this great Canaletto masterpiece will reach people who have never visited their national collection or haven’t done so for ages, and we hope that many of those whom we do reach then feel inspired to visit or revisit. We are delighted to include these three venues in the Masterpiece Tour 2015 and look forward to seeing the different ways in which this much-loved painting will be displayed in each setting.”
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.