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CANALETTO

(Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768) Skip to Images

Italian painter. He was a painter of townscapes (vedute), principally of Venice, and was trained initially by his father as a scene painter. His earliest known signed and dated work, Architectural Capriccio, (1723, Milan, private collection) reflects this training.

However, in c1719-20 he was in Rome, where he saw and was influenced by Panini's paintings of recognizable Roman views. Canaletto was back in Venice in 1720 for, from that date until 1767, he is listed in the fraglia (Venetian painters' guild). His earliest documented views of Venice were for Stefano Conti of Lucca (four paintings, 1725-6, Montreal, private collection). The paintings of this period, generally regarded as his best, display the qualities which ensured he would take up the mantle of his principal precursor Luca Carlevaris. The finest work is perhaps The Stonemason's Yard (c1729, London, National Gallery): the paint is fluently handled, the colour is rich with bold contrasts of light and shade, and the figures, though small in scale, are lively to an extent lost in the shorthand figures of his later pictures. These early paintings are unusual for their time in that they were apparently painted directly from nature, rather than from the traditional practice of making studies on site for working up back in the studio; only later did Canaletto revert to the more usual practice, frequently using a camera obscura as a drawing aid. (The lens of this device has the unfortunate effect of reducing distant figures to blurs and has been presumed as the source of Canaletto's later manner of creating figures from blobs of colour.) The Stonemason's Yard is unusual in that it represents a ramshackle working area of the city. Canaletto's real market was for views of the splendid architectural sights, preferably richly decked out for some festive occasion (e.g., Venice: the Feast Day of St. Roch, early 1730s, London, National Gallery) or better, a regatta on the Grand Canal (e.g., The Bucintoro Returning to the Molo on Ascension Day, c1730, Milan, Aldo Crespi Collection).

Canaletto soon attracted the notice of English visitors and by 1730 had come to a working arrangement with Joseph Smith (later British consul in Venice) who not only bought pictures from him, but acted as agent for sales to other British customers. Encouraged by the strength of his English market, Canaletto travelled to England in 1746, returning to Venice only for short periods, until his final return c1756. He attempted developing a market for English views, but experienced great difficulty. Also, his style had by now become somewhat hardened, mechanical even, to the extent that in 1749, the English art critic and historian, George Vertue, publicly suggested that the present 'Canaletto' was an impostor. Canaletto responded by giving public demonstrations of his ability as a painter, but seems not to have largely improved his fortunes. He eventually returned to Venice and in 1763 was finally elected to the Venetian Academy. He continued to paint until his death in 1768, but never regained the commercial success of his early years. Owing to his popularity with English travellers, most of his paintings are in Britain. Canaletto's nephew and pupil, Bernardo Bellotto, worked in a similar style.

- From The Bulfinch Guide to Art History

 CANALETTO_WESTMINSTER_BRIDGE

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) 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

 CANALETTO_CANALETTO_RECEPTION

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice 1740s Oil on canvas 71 x 102 in (181 x 259.5 cm) Hermitage, St Petersburg

 CANALETTO_Canaletto_Northumberland

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) London: Northumberland House 1752 Oil on canvas 84 x 137 cm Collection Duke of Northumberland

 CANALETTO_CANALETTO_DUCAL

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) 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

 CANALETTO_CANALETTO_CAMPO

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) The Campo di Rialto c. 1758-63 Oil on canvas 46 7/16 x 72 1/2 in (119 x 186 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

canaletto_Rio_dei_Mendicanti:_Looking_South

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Rio dei Mendicanti: Looking South. 1723. Oil on canvas. Ca'Rezzonico, Venice, Italy

canaletto_The_Molo:_Looking_West

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Molo: Looking West. 1730. Oil on canvas. Tatton Park, Cheshire, National Trust, UK.

canaletto_Riva_degli_Schiavoni:_Looking_East

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Riva degli Schiavoni: Looking East. 1730. Oil on canvas. Tatton Park, Cheshire, National Trust, UK.

canaletto_A_Regatta_on_the_Grand_Canal

CANALETTO

Canaletto. A Regatta on the Grand Canal. c. 1732. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Bucintoro_at_the_Molo_on_Ascension_Day

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day. c. 1732. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Arsenal:_the_Water_Entrance

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Arsenal: the Water Entrance. c. 1732. Oil on canvas. Woburn Abbey, UK

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_from_Santa_Maria_della_Carità_to_the_Bacino_di_San_Marco

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: from Santa Maria della Carità to the Bacino di San Marco. Early 1730s. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Doge_Visiting_the_Church_and_Scuola_di_San_Rocco

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Doge Visiting the Church and Scuola di San Rocco. c. 1735. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_Piazza_San_Marco:_Looking_South-East

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Piazza San Marco: Looking South-East. 1735-40. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

canaletto_Entrance_of_the_Grand_Canal:_from_the_West_End_of_the_Molo

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Entrance of the Grand Canal: from the West End of the Molo. 1735-40. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_Looking_South-West_from_the_Chiesa_degli_Scalzi_to_the_Fondamenta_della_Croce,_with_San_Simeone_Piccolo

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: Looking South-West from the Chiesa degli Scalzi to the Fondamenta della Croce, with San Simeone Piccolo. c. 1738. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_Looking_East,_from_the_Campo_San_Vio

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: Looking East, from the Campo San Vio. c. 1725. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.

canaletto_Dolo_on_the_Brenta

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Dolo on the Brenta. Late 1720s-1742. Oil on canvas. Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany.

canaletto_Capriccio:_Ruins_and_Classic_Buildings

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: Ruins and Classic Buildings. 1730s. Oil on canvas. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, Italy.

canaletto_Rome:_the_Arch_of_Constantine

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Rome: the Arch of Constantine. 1742. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_Rome:_Ruins_of_the_Forum,_Looking_towards_the_Capitol

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Rome: Ruins of the Forum, Looking towards the Capitol. 1742. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_Capriccio:_the_Ponte_della_Pescaria_and_Buildings_on_the_Quay

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: the Ponte della Pescaria and Buildings on the Quay. 1742-4. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK.

canaletto_Capriccio:_the_Horses_of_San_Marco_in_the_Piazzetta

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: the Horses of San Marco in the Piazzetta. 1743. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_Capriccio:_the_Grand_Canal,_with_an_Imaginary_Rialto_Bridge_and_Other_Buildings

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: the Grand Canal, with an Imaginary Rialto Bridge and Other Buildings. 1740s. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, Parma, Italy.

canaletto_Entrance_to_the_Grand_Canal:_Looking_East

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Entrance to the Grand Canal: Looking East. 1744. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK.

canaletto_London:_Westminster_Bridge_from_the_North_on_Lord_Mayor's_Day

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Westminster Bridge from the North on Lord Mayor's Day. 1746. Oil on canvas. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, USA

canaletto_London:_Seen_through_an_Arch_of_Westminster_Bridge

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Seen through an Arch of Westminster Bridge. 1746-7. Oil on canvas. Duke of Northumberland, UK

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_Looking_North-East_from_the_Palazzo_Corner-Spinelli_to_the_Rialto_Bridge

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: Looking North-East from the Palazzo Corner-Spinelli to the Rialto Bridge. c. 1725. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.

canaletto_London:_Whitehall_and_the_Privy_Garden_from_Richmond_House

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Whitehall and the Privy Garden from Richmond House. 1747. Oil on canvas. Trustees of Goodwood House, West Sussex, UK.

canaletto_London:_the_Thames_and_the_City_of_London_from_Richmond_House

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: the Thames and the City of London from Richmond House. 1747. Oil on canvas. Trustees of Goodwood House, West Sussex, UK.

canaletto_Warwick_Castle:_the_South_Front

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Warwick Castle: the South Front. 1748. Oil on canvas. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, Spain

canaletto_London:_the_Old_Horse_Guards_from_St

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: the Old Horse Guards from St. James' Park. 1749. Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_London:_the_Old_Horse_Guards_and_Banqueting_Hall,_from_St

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: the Old Horse Guards and Banqueting Hall, from St. James' Park. 1749. Oil on canvas. Private collection

canaletto_London:_Westminster_Abbey,_with_a_Procession_of_Knights_of_the_Bath

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Westminster Abbey, with a Procession of Knights of the Bath. 1749. Oil on canvas. Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, London, UK

canaletto_Warwick_Castle:_the_East_Front

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Warwick Castle: the East Front. 1752. Oil on canvas. City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK.

canaletto_London:_Northumberland_House

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Northumberland House. 1752. Oil on canvas. Duke of Northumberland, UK.

canaletto_London:_Greenwich_Hospital_from_the_North_Bank_of_the_Thames

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames. c.1753. Oil on canvas. National Maritime Museum, London, UK

canaletto_London:_Ranelagh,_Interior_of_the_Rotunda

CANALETTO

Canaletto. London: Ranelagh, Interior of the Rotunda. 1754. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_Entrance_to_the_Grand_Canal:_Looking_East

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Entrance to the Grand Canal: Looking East. c. 1725. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.

canaletto_Old_Walton_Bridge

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Old Walton Bridge. 1754. Oil on canvas. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_Eton_College_Chapel

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Eton College Chapel. c. 1754. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK.

canaletto_Capriccio:_River_Landscape_with_a_Column,_a_Ruined_Roman_Arch,_and_Reminiscences_of_England

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: River Landscape with a Column, a Ruined Roman Arch, and Reminiscences of England. c. 1754. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

canaletto_San_Marco:_the_Interior

CANALETTO

Canaletto. San Marco: the Interior. c. 1755. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK.

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_Looking_South-East_from_the_Campo_Santo_Sophia_to_the_Rialto_Bridge

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: Looking South-East from the Campo Santo Sophia to the Rialto Bridge. c. 1756. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

canaletto_Piazza_San_Marco:_Looking_South-West

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Piazza San Marco: Looking South-West. 1750s. Oil on canvas. Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, USA.

canaletto_Piazza_San_Marco:_Looking_East_from_the_North-West_Corner

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the North-West Corner. c.1760. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK

canaletto_Piazza_San_Marco:_Looking_East_from_the_South-West_Corner

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the South-West Corner. c.1760. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK.

canaletto_San_Marco:_the_Crossing_and_North_Transept,_with_Musicians_Singing

CANALETTO

Canaletto. San Marco: the Crossing and North Transept, with Musicians Singing. 1766. Pen and ink with washes. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany.

canaletto_Grand_Canal_Viewed_from_Palazzo_Balbi

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal Viewed from Palazzo Balbi. Oil on canvas. Ca'Rezzonico, Venice, Italy.

canaletto_Santi_Giovanni_e_Paolo_and_the_Scuola_di_San_Marco

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola di San Marco. c. 1725. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

canaletto_Capriccio_of_Colonade_and_the_Courtyard_of_a_Palace

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio of Colonade and the Courtyard of a Palace. 1765. Oil on canvas. Municipality of Venice, Venice, Italy.

canaletto_The_Basin_of_St

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Basin of St. Mark. 1738-40, Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA

canaletto_View_of_a_River,_Perhaps_in_Padua

CANALETTO

Canaletto. View of a River, Perhaps in Padua. 1745. Oil on canvas. Private collection

canaletto_Rome:_The_Arch_of_Septimius_Severus

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Rome: The Arch of Septimius Severus. 1742. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_Rome:_The_Arch_of_Titus

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Rome: The Arch of Titus. 1742. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Grand_Canal_from_Campo_S

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Grand Canal from Campo S. Vio towards the Bacino. c. 1730. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK.

canaletto_Venice;_The_Piazzzetta_towards_the_Torre_del'Orologio

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Venice; The Piazzzetta towards the Torre del'Orologio. 1743. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_Capriccio:_View_with_Ruins

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capriccio: View with Ruins. c. 1740. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Reception_of_the_French_Ambassador_in_Venice

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice. 1740s. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

canaletto_The_Reception_of_the_French_Ambassador_in_Venice

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice. Detail. 1740s. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

canaletto_The_Piazzetta:_Looking_North

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Piazzetta: Looking North. c. 1727. Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, UK

canaletto_The_Reception_of_the_French_Ambassador_in_Venice

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice. Detail. 1740s. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

canaletto_The_Molo,_Seen_from_the_Basin_of_San_Marco

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Molo, Seen from the Basin of San Marco. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

canaletto_A_View_of_the_Ducal_Palace_in_Venice

CANALETTO

Canaletto. A View of the Ducal Palace in Venice. 1755. Oil on canvas. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

canaletto_The_Vigilia_di_S

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Vigilia di S. Pietro. After 1755-56. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

canaletto_The_Vigilia_di_S

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Vigilia di S. Marta. 1755-56. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

canaletto_The_Grand_Canal_Looking_Down_to_the_Rialto_Bridge

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Grand Canal Looking Down to the Rialto Bridge. c. 1758-63. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

canaletto_The_Campo_di_Rialto

CANALETTO

Canaletto. The Campo di Rialto. c. 1758-63. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

canaletto_Santa_Maria_della_Salute_Seen_from_the_Grand_Canal

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Santa Maria della Salute Seen from the Grand Canal. 1730. Oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

canaletto_Capitol_Square_in_Rome

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Capitol Square in Rome. c. 1749. Oil on canvas. Szepmuveseti Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary.

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_the_Rialto_Bridge_from_the_South

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: the Rialto Bridge from the South. c. 1727. Oil on canvas. c. 1727. Oil on copper. Viscount Coke, Holkman Hall, Norfolk, UK

canaletto_Church_of_St

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Church of St. Antony and St. Phaustina in Rome. c. 1749. Oil on canvas. Szepmuveseti Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary.

canaletto_Grand_Canal:_The_Stonemason's_Yard;_Santa_Maria_della_Carità_from_the_Campo_San_Vidal

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Grand Canal: The Stonemason's Yard; Santa Maria della Carità from the Campo San Vidal. c. 1728. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK.

canaletto_Piazza_San_Marco:_the_Clocktower

CANALETTO

Canaletto. Piazza San Marco: the Clocktower. c. 1730. Oil on canvas. Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO, USA.