Canaletto – Canaletto Biography

Italian painter Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (1697-1768), is known for his scenes of Venice from the 18th century, executed with exactness, precision and luminosity.

Canaletto He was born in Venice on October 18, 1697. He was trained by his father, Bernardo Canal, as a set designer. Most of the theatrical productions of the time depicted interiors of palaces or palace gardens. Such scenes generally used an intricate recession of columns, pediments, porticoes, balustrades, and garden statues, and therefore their execution required a knowledge of the complexities of architectural perspective.

In 1719 Canaletto He gave up designing sets and went to study in Rome. The following year he was again in Venice, where he was registered as a member of the painters’ guild. From then on he was busy painting views of his hometown. His most important patron was the English consul, Joseph Smith, who bought a large number of his works to resell to his compatriots.

Canaletto he built his views of Venice with care. Usually he drew the scene on the spot and then did more detailed studies in his atelier. These studies were then transferred to the canvas with the help of lines cut into the prepared surface as guides for columns, cornices, arches and vaults. It is also known that Canaletto used the camera obscura, a dark box or camera in which the view is taken and reflected from the lenses and mirrors on a sheet of drawing paper so that the artist can make the perspective lines accurately, simply by tracing the contours reflected by the image.

Delighted by his success with the English, Canaletto He went to England in 1746. He had been coming and going there for a decade, but the results were disappointing. In Venice he had provided the English with scenes they considered exotic and picturesque, while in England he could only provide them with sights they already knew.

Back in Venice Canaletto He continued to paint sights for tourists. He also gained acceptance from the Venetians themselves with a new form, the architectural quirk, in which famous landmarks were arbitrarily combined or (rarely in the case of Canaletto) architecture was completely invented. With one of these as his reception piece he was finally admitted to the Academy of Venice in 1763. Five years later, on April 20, 1768, he died.

The Cortile dello scalpellino gives a good idea of ​​the early works of Canaletto. It is a Venice that the tourist rarely sees, or tries not to remember: a view of disorder and poverty, of a vacant lot full of stones and rubble, of gray buildings from which damp clothes hung, of gray clouds that they close the sky. But it is also full of gravity, dignity, and a sense of timelessness.

Much more typical are sunlit scenes that Canaletto He painted so frequently, of St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Grand Canal. In the best of these canvases the painted surfaces are very well modulated, the buildings touched with pink, and pink again in the blue of the sky. The open spaces are filled with festive groups of glowing figures.

Under increasing pressure to make more and more paints for the tourism industry, Canaletto he took assistants, which weakened his style. Many of his later canvases are excessively stiff and dry.