By Grace Backus


This past weekend I went and saw the Casanova: The Seduction of Europe exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum. To preface this, I should say that I went in totally blind. I knew nothing about Casanova, his life, or anything that would be in the exhibit. The only thing I knew going in was that it was supposedly scandalous, which was intriguing enough to make me want to see what my roommate’s mom called “uncomfortable.”

Walking in, the museum has placed historical background at the beginning of the exhibit, which I suggest you read if you want to understand the life of Casanova as well as the context of everything in the exhibit. These little historical tidbits are also located throughout the exhibit and really explain the art in each room. Again, I went in totally blind, so I had no idea that Casanova wasn’t actually a painter until about halfway through the exhibit. That’s something I wish I had known beforehand. As it turns out, Casanova was a traveler, writer, and serious ladies man in the 18th century, who wrote a giant memoir of everything and everyone he did. This exhibit was really just art that put you into the life Casanova lived. Once I was in that mindset, the exhibit was ten times cooler.

The exhibit really had everything: paintings in a variety of styles–, from flowery to bordering on hyper-realistic–, drawings, furniture, dishware, dresses, and in a tiny room off to the side, sexually explicit doodles. I then understood why my roommate’s mom didn’t like it, but I saw it more as the life Casanova lived, one of a pronounced seducer. It also went with the territory that there were a lot of paintings with naked women in them, but again, in context it made sense and I saw it as a shout-out for body positivity. I think at one point I was shouting “free the nipple!” in my head.

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe was an opulent history lesson. I suggest you go see it, that is if you don’t blush easily. It’s open until December 31st.