Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

February 10, 2018May 28, 2018

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe explores 18th-century Europe through the eyes of one of its most colorful characters, Giacomo Casanova (Italian, 1725–1798). Renowned today as a seducer and an adventurer, Casanova was known to his contemporaries as a charming and witty conversationalist, an expert on many topics, and an international man of letters. He was also a gambler, a spy, and one of history’s greatest travelers.

Featuring approximately 90 works—including paintings by Canaletto, Pietro Longhi, William Hogarth, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and François Boucher; sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon; works on paper by Giovanni Battista Piranesi; period furnishings, delicate porcelains, silver, and period costumes—Casanova will bring the famed author’s world to life. Of special note are three tableaux, illustrating, respectively, a visit to a convent in Venice, a morning toilette in Paris, and a dissipated night of cards in London—scenes composed of mannequins in 18th-century costumes amid period furniture. Thematic threads running through the exhibition include travel; courtship and seduction; theater and identity; and the pleasures of dining.


This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

Presenting Sponsor:  John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Barbro and Bernard Osher, and Diane B. Wilsey. Lead Corporate Sponsor: Bank of America. Curator’s Circle: Barbara A. Wolfe.

Bank of America

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Additional support is provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.