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  • 11/17/2004

Canaletto

(Giovanni Antonio Canal)

Italy, Rococo
born 1697 - died 1768

Canaletto

(Giovanni Antonio Canal) (1697-1768). Venetian painter, the most famous view-painter of the 18th century. He began work painting theatrical scenery (his father"s profession), but he turned to topography during a visit toRome in 1719-20, when he was influenced by the work of Giovanni Paolo Panini. By 1723 he was painting dramatic and picturesque views ofVenice, marked by strong contrasts of light and shade and free handling, this phase of his work culminating in the splendid Stone Mason"s Yard (National Gallery, London, c. 1730). Meanwhile, partly under the influence of Luca Carlevaris, and largely in rivalry with him, Canaletto began to turn out views which were more topographically accurate, set in a higher key, and with smoother, more precise handling -- characteristics that mark most of his later work. At the same time he began painting the ceremonial and festival subjects which ultimately formed an important part of his work. His patrons were chiefly English collectors, for whom he sometimes produced series of views in uniform size. Conspicuous among them was Joseph Smith, a merchant, appointed British Consul in Venice in 1744. It was perhaps at his instance that Canaletto enlarged his repertory in the 1740s to include subjects from the Venetian main Frameland and from Rome (probably based on drawings made during his visit as a young man), and by producing numerous capricci. He also gave increased attention to the graphic arts, making a remarkable series of etchings, and many drawings in pen, and pen and wash, as independent works of art and not as preparation for paintings. This led to changes in his style of painting, increasing an already well-established tendency to become stylized and mechanical in handling. He often used the camera obscura as an aid to composition. In 1746 he went to England, apparently at the suggestion of Jacopo Amigoni (the War of the Austrian Succession drastically curtailed foreign travel, andCanaletto"s tourist trade in Venice had dried up). For a time he was very successful, painting views of London and of various country houses. Subsequently, his work became increasingly lifeless and mannered, so much so that rumors were put about, probably by rivals, that he was not in fact the famous Canaletto but an impostor. In 1755 he returned to Venice and continued active for the remainFrameder of his life. Legends of his having amassed a fortune in Venice are disproved by the official inventory of his estate on his death. Before this, Joseph Smith had sold the major part of his paintings to George III, thus bringing into the royal collection an unrivalled group of Canaletto"s paintings and drawings. Canaletto was highly influential in Italy and elsewhere. His nephew Bernardo Bellotto took his style toCentral Europe and his followers inEngland included William Marlow and Samuel Scott.

Arrival of the French Ambassador inVenice

(c.1740 – 1750)

Oil on canvas

71.26 x 102.17 inches / 181 x 259.5 cm

Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia

Perspective

(1765)

Oil on canvas

51.57 x 36.61 inches / 131 x 93 cm

Galleria dell"Accademia, Florence, Italy

Bacino di San Marco

Translated title: St Mark"s Basin.

(1738 – 1740)

Oil on canvas

49.21 x 80.31 inches / 125 x 204 cm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

The Grand Canal at the Salute Church

(1738 – 1742)

Oil on canvas

47.64 x 59.45 inches / 121 x 151 cm

Private collection

Piazza San Marco - Looking Southeast

(1735 – 1740)

Oil on canvas

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

The Feast Day of St Roch

(c.1735)

Oil on canvas

57.87 x 78.35 inches / 147 x 199 cm

National Gallery, London, England

View of the Bacino di San Marco

Alternative title: St Mark"s Basin.

(1730 – 1735)

Oil on canvas

21.06 x 27.95 inches / 53.5 x 71 cm

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy

La punta della Dogana

Translated title: Custom Point.

(1726 – 1728)

Oil on canvas

18.11 x 24.61 inches / 46 x 62.5 cm

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Riva degli Schiavoni - west side

(1726 – 1728)

Oil on canvas

18.11 x 24.61 inches / 46 x 62.5 cm

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

The Stonemason"s Yard

(1726 – 1730)

Oil on canvas

48.82 x 64.17 inches / 124 x 163 cm

National Gallery, London, England

The Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge in the Background

(1724 – 1725)

Oil on canvas

57.48 x 92.13 inches / 146 x 234 cm

Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Germany

Palazzo Ducale and the Piazza di San Marco

Oil on canvas

20.08 x 32.68 inches / 51 x 83 cm

Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

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