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The greatest Venetian landmark painter ... Canaletto. Tim Marlow On ... Venice: Canaletto
Canaletto’s emergence and rapid development through the 1720s was the decisive period in the evolution of Venetian painting, and set the tone for the rest of the century. ibid.
The 2017 exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace London … an unrivalled number of Canalettos … a remarkable artist living at a remarkable time in a remarkable city. Tim Marlow, Great Art s1e1: Canaletto & The Art of Venice, ITV 2018
Smith: sold his entire collection to George III in 1762. ibid.
Long before the Impressionists, Canaletto was painting out of doors. Helen Rosslyn, Bought with Love: The Secret History of British Art Collections II: The Golden Age, BBC 2013
Richmond commissioned some Venetian views by Canaletto … displayed at Richmond House. ibid.
Canaletto: these are pure cityscapes celebrating the beauty of buildings and the joy of city life. Canaletto showed us that it was quite acceptable to paint places as a subject in their own right. ibid.
Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, was born in Venice, the son of a theatrical scene painter. He was very influential, famed for his precisely depicted and evocative views of the city (vedute). Canaletto’s early pictures for local patrons are his most accomplished: these carefully designed, individual, and atmospheric studies include The Stonemason’s Yard
He found that providing formulaic paintings for tourists was very lucrative. These, still highly skilled works, were produced by him often in collaboration with an organised workshop. They usually record the lavish Venetian public ceremonies, as in Regatta on the Grand Canal.
Canaletto was favoured by English collectors. He visited England repeatedly between 1746-56, painting works like Eton College. National Gallery online
Despite Canaletto’s considerable knowledge of and borrowings from old masters, he remained in the last analysis a Rocco painter through and through. His diaphanous golden lighting of Italian landscapes carries the assurance of an artist saturated with the Mediterranean tradition. His dramatic, velvety application of paint and skillful depiction of nature have a freshness and liveliness unequaled in the work of any of his contemporaries. Canaletto lived during exciting and restless times. The world was in transition. Europeans were changing with the development of an intellectual movement called ‘The Enlightenment’. Writers and artists grew uneasy at the all-pervading censorship by the monarchy and church. People were becoming resentful over paying taxes to support a wealthy, absolutely useless aristocracy. History of Painters online
Giovanni Antonio Canal, born on October 7, 1697, son of painter Bernardo Canal, hence his nickname Canaletto.
He served his apprenticeship with his father and his brother, and began his career as a theatrical scene painter, which was his father’s occupation. Canaletto began painting in his famous topographical style after a visit to Rome in 1719. Canaletto, however, is best known for his grand scenes of the canals of Venice and the Doge’s Palace.
Many of Canaletto’s early works, contrary to the custom of the time, were painted from nature (rather than from sketches of the scene taken back to be worked on in the artist’s studio).
Many of his pictures were sold to Englishmen on their Grand Tour. It was merchant Joseph Smith who acted as an agent for Canaletto, helping him sell his paintings to other Englishmen. In the 1740s Canaletto’s market was disrupted when the War of the Austrian Succession led to a reduction in the number of British visitors to Venice. In 1746 Canaletto moved to London, to be closer to his market.
He remained in England until 1755, painting views of London and of his patrons’ castles and houses. Canaletto’s work began to suffer from repetitiveness, losing its traditional fluidity, and became mechanical to the point that the English art critic George Vertue suggested that the man painting under the name ‘Canaletto’ was an impostor. Canaletto gave public demonstrations of his work to refute this claim; however, his reputation never fully recovered in his lifetime.
After his return to Venice Canaletto was elected to the Venetian Academy in 1763. In his later years he often worked from old sketches, but he sometimes produced surprising new compositions. He was willing to make subtle alternations to topography for artistic effect. He continued to paint until his death in 1768. Art in the Picture online