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Canaletto
(1697-1768)

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Canaletto, whose real name was Giovanni Antonio Canal, was an Italian painter, known for his sparkling views of Venice, and his name is inextricably wound up with Venice and Venetian painting.  He was born in Venice on October 28, 1697, and died there on April 19, 1768. Canaletto received instruction in painting and perspective from his father, a scene designer in the high baroque tradition. He took as his specialty the relatively new and rare form of painting, the city view (veduta). His principal patrons were English aristocrats on the Grand Tour, for whom his scenes were souvenirs of the sights of Venice -- the Grand Canal, the basin of Saint Mark's, plus innumerable scenes of regattas and water festivals, such as the annual celebration of the Marriage of Venice to the Sea.  

San Marino 1971. Baroque Art. Canaletto. Canale Grande between Palazzo Balbi and Rialto Bridge. San Marino 1971. Baroque Art. Canaletto. View of San Marco Basin on the Molo. San Marino 1971. Baroque Art. Canaletto. View of the Harbour of Venice and the Customs' Office.

Canaletto. Baroque Art. Regatta on the Grand Canal.

The islands on which the city is built are connected with about 400 bridges. The Grand Canal, about 3 km long, winds through Venice from north-west to south-east, dividing the city into two nearly equal portions.  No motor vehicles are permitted on the narrow, winding lanes and streets that penetrate the old city, and the bridges are for pedestrians only.  

Italy 1973. Baroque Art. Canaletto. The Grand Canal.

Italy 1968. Baroque Art. Canaletto. View of Venice.

 

Guyana 1993. Baroque Art. Canaletto. Rialto Bridge.

  • Guyana 1993.  Canaletto:  Rialto Bridge, issued at the occasion of the bicentennial of the Louvre Museum, Paris. 

Canaletto's technique had the traditional Venetian hallmarks of luminous light and glowing color, to which he added a Dutch-influenced attention to clear and accurate detail. His early works often feature dark, saturated colors that depict a moist, palpable atmosphere under a stormy or dark sky. Later works -- after 1740, when Canaletto began to develop a somewhat looser, less precise style of brushwork -- often portray bright sunlit scenes with rich colors highlighted by red and gold. 

Canaletto. Baroque Art. "Venice -- The Feast Day of Saint Roch".

Another two painters, whose names were closely related with Canaletto and his time, were Francesco Guardi and Bernardo Bellotto.  In 1972 Monaco issued a nice set of paintings by this remarkable trio, for the benefit of the UNESCO aid program "SaveVenice", after the terrible floods that hit the city. 

Monaco 1972. Baroque At. Bellotto. St. Marc Square. Monaco 1972. Baroque Art. Francesco Guardi. San Pietro di Castello. Monaco 1972. Baroque Art. Canaletto. St., Giovanni & St. Paolo.

He went to England in 1746 after the War of the Austrian Succession had drastically curtailed the stream of English visitors to Venice. He painted many scenes of English landscapes and country houses before returning to Venice in 1755. Canaletto was elected to the Venice Academy in 1763, but the paintings of his later years were increasingly criticized for their facile manner and mechanical repetition of overly familiar themes. The atmospheric quality of his best works was an important influence on 19th-century landscape painting.  

Note:  Canaletto should not be mixed up with his famous nephew Bernardo Bellotto, who used the same artist name as his uncle.  but worked mainly in Poland, Austria and Germany.  Read more about Bernardo Bellotto here.

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