Hidden treasures

Canaletto, the landscape artist of Venice

Big Names
canaletto-san-marco

Canaletto, the landscape artist of Venice

Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, was one of the greatest vedutisti of the 18th century. In addition to combining architecture and nature in topographic representation, his paintings show a careful atmospheric rendering: Canaletto, in fact, paid close attention to every single detail that characterized the different moments of the day, investigating with scientific and objective criteria the effects and changes of the light on the surrounding landscape. He also valued the perspective, using the optical camera, the ancestor of the camera, to better represent it in his works.

Canaletto was born on 17th, or 18th, October 1697 in a wealthy family of the Venetian Republic. He was initiated into painting by his father, Bernardo Canal (hence the nickname Canaletto, 'small Canal'), collaborating with him and his brother in the creation of theatre backdrops. The real artistic emergence of young Canaletto came after he moved to Rome, where he first came into contact with the vedutisti painters. It was during his time in Rome that he made his first recorded works, such as Santa Maria d'Aracoeli, Campidoglio and Tempio of Antonino and Faustina, in which he began to approach the genre of the veduta. The first two works signed by him and with a certain date can be traced to 1723: they are two Capricci - fanciful drawings, far from the religious or ethical themes typical of the time - now preserved in private collections.

Thanks to his remarkable skill and technique, once back in Venice, Canaletto managed to quickly become one of the most successful painters of the Serenissima. During 1720s the number of commissions he received began to increase, thanks also to the encounter with Joseph Smith, a very rich art collector and British consul in Venice between 1744 and 1760 and a fundamental figure for Canaletto’s career who acted as a mediator between the Venetian painter and the English collectors.

Around 1740, when the Austrian succession war (1741-1748) brought a sharp decrease in British visitors to Venice, Canaletto’s market dropped dramatically and the painter decided to move to London, where he managed to acquire new clients.

He then returned to Venice between 1756 and 1757, never leaving the city thereafter. Elected to the Venetian Academy, he continued to paint until his death in 1768.

Thanks to his incomparable views of Venice, Canaletto has managed to export the 'myth of Venice' abroad by depicting Venice as a naturally enchanting and magical city!

Do not miss the great exhibition housed in the rooms of the Doge’s Palace in Venice to closely admire his most famous works, together with other masterpieces of 18th century Venetian art and its greatest protagonists ... The ticket for the exhibition 'Canaletto and Venice' can be purchased online directly from our portal!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: Prospero Alpini and the discovery of coffee in Europe

prospero_alpini
Big Names

Everyone knows about coffee, the energizing and hearty drink consumed by millions of people every day! We Italians are great coffee dri...

View

Venice: The bridge of Fists in the Dorsoduro district

ponte-dei-pugni
Historical Curiosities

The Bridge of Fists, located in the Dorsoduro district, owes its name to an ancient tradition of Venice: the War of Fists. The inhabita...

View

Venice: The red stone of the 'Sotoportego de la peste'

sotoportego-de-la-peste
Mysteries & Legends

Walking around Venice along the narrow streets and across the squares, you could happen to notice strange slabs on the pavement... whic...

View

Treviso: Mr. Carnevale’s confetti factory in Paese

fabbrica-cordiandoli-carnevale
Local Traditions

We all know what confetti is! It is little pieces of colored paper that are thrown into the air during the course of carnival celebrati...

View

Top posts

Padua: The biodiversity garden in the Padua Botanical Garden

giardino-biodiversità
Unknown places & works

Founded in 1545, the Botanical Garden of Padua is the oldest botanical garden in the world to be still in its original location; it cov...

View

Vicenza: The Bissara Tower in Piazza dei Signori

torre-bissara-vicenza
Historical Curiosities

One of the most evocative places in Vicenza is certainly Piazza dei Signori, overlooked by the famous Basilica Palladiana, the work of ...

View

Venice: The relief of the man with the pipe at Palazzo Loredan on the Grand Canal

palazzo-loredan
Mysteries & Legends

One of the oldest buildings on the banks of the Grand Canal is Palazzo Loredan, built in the 13th century and currently seat of the Tow...

View

Verona: The equestrian monument at Cangrande della Scala in Verona

cangrande
Big Names

One of the most famous people in the history of Verona is surely Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona from 1308 to 1329, the year of h...

View