Jean-Etienne Liotard (2015-16)

(Royal Academy, London, until 31 January 2016)

This is the first exhibition devoted to Liotard in the UK and it’s long overdue. He’s an artist I’ve always particularly liked, for he seems to represent the most appealing aspects of the 18th century: its increasing informality and its new interest in the individual as a worthy object of study. Born in Geneva, he had an unusually peripatetic life which took him not only to the usual artistic centres of Paris, Rome and London, but also to more exotic regions: after joining the entourage of a couple of British Grand Tourists whom he met in Rome, he spent four years in the Ottoman capital in Constantinople. For the rest of his life his art would be flavoured by the textures and patterns of the Turkish world.

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