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artists in venice

Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as CANALETTO (Venice, 1697-1768)

Return of the Bucintoro on Ascension Day
Return of the...
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Born in Venice, Canaletto was the most famous view-painter of the 18th century. His nickname is a diminutive from his last name (literally meaning "Mr. Canal Junior" or also "small canal"; as a young painter, working in his family's studio with his brother, he was introduced by his father Bernardo to the profession of theatrical scene painter, but a journey to Rome changed his life: there Canaletto decided to dedicate himself to painting from nature. His passion for details marks his work. As a Venetian, he was specially fond of city ceremonies and festivals; they provided him with great inspiration; he might have considered himself an historian and a witness, more than a painter. He made use of camera oscura to refine his work.
His production include several oil paintings, etchings and drawings. In the middle of the 18th century he had grown famous and envied: he was travelling Europe painting famous cities (such as London), and he became a living legend: rumors had it that he had become enormously rich pretending to be the real Canaletto. In 1755 he returned to Venice, while most of his paintings had been sold to king George III.
His artistic heir proved to be his nephew Bernardo Bellotto, who is famous for his paintings of Central Europe cities.

Canaletto's most famous surviving paintings are:

  • View of the Ducal Palace in Venice, c. 1755 Oil on canvas 20 1/16 x 32 11/16 in (51 x 83 cm) Uffizi, Florence
  • The Campo di Rialto, c. 1758-63 Oil on canvas, Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin
  • Westminster Bridge, London, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames, 1747 Oil on canvas 37 3/4 x 50 1/4 in. (95.75 x 127.5 cm) Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut
  • The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice, 1740s Oil on canvas 71 x 102 in (181 x 259.5 cm) Hermitage, St Petersburg
See below a little gallery of Canaletto's works: click to enlarge the images and buy posters now if you wish.

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