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Caprices

Let's get away from it all. To artists of the 17th and 18th centuries this sometimes meant inventing fantasy towns and unreal ruins. Often an actual city provided inspiration, but the fashioners of 'architectural caprices' invited viewers' imaginations to roam as freely as theirs. (Italo Calvino does something similar in prose in today's 'Loose-leaf library.') Paintings by Francesco Guardi (above) and Francois de Nome (below) are among those gathered in 'The Capricious View,' an exhibition of townscapes now at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. It is the sixth in a series of exhibitions organized by the National Gallery and toured by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

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