The long established propension of Parma to patronise Venetian painting was also seen in the XVIII century and significant examples can be seen here in three paintings by the Venetian artists Pittoni, Tiepolo and Piazzetta who were commissioned by the Capucin monks to create altar pieces for the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, historical mausoleum of the Farnese Dukes, which was suppressed in 1810 under Napoleonic domination.
In the penitent Maddalena adoring the crucifix, Pittoni paints a typical figure from the ‘700 in which the evident manifestation of pain is confounded with the formal elegance of the pose and the delicate chromatic effects of her clothes. The painting by Tiepolo shows two Capucin martyrs canonised by Benedict XIV, St Fedele da Sigmaringen and Giuseppe da Leonessa who is trampling Heresy, one of the most exemplary creations of his mature period. A recognised masterpieces of the art of Piazzetta is the Immaculate Conception with angels where the brownish tones of the background, typical of this work, blend wih the more tenuous drapery of the Virgin’s clothes.
Monuments and ancient ruins, the play of colours on the waters of canals and a crowd of people of the time bring life to the so-called “capricci”. The famous painting by Canaletto, Capriccio with Palladian buildings, was acquired by Maria Luigia in Venice and then donated to the Gallery. In a view of the lagoon city three buildings by the architect Andrea Palladio dominate: the Basilica and the Chiericati Palazzo in Vicenza, and the Rialto bridge seen here according to an unrealised project. The four architectural paintings by Bernardo Bellotto come from the Sanvitale collection and display with almost photographic definition an assembly of antique architecture and Roman buildings in a fantasy composition of extraordinary scenographic impact, almost a virtual modern reconstruction which from the Baroque foreshadows neo-classicism.