The Wallace Collection

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Canaletto (1697 - 1768)
  • Giovanni Antonio Canal
  • Place of Birth: Venice, Italy
  • Place of Death: Venice, Italy
Biography
Works of Art

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, born on 7 October 1697 in Venice, the son of a scene-painter, Bernardo Canal (c.1674-1744). He worked with his father in Venice, and in Rome in 1719-20. His earliest dateable views of Venice are from 1723. In the 1730s his work was in the greatest demand from English patrons, and many pieces from this period are of mechanical quality. Perhaps because the War of the Austrian Succession, 1741-8, restricted tourism and therefore his patronage, he turned to painting capricci and views of Rome (and probably of the Brenta and Padua). In May 1746 he was in London where be stayed until at least 1755, save for two visits to Venice in 1750-1 and 1753-4.

There is cautious agreement that Caneletto’s studio was confined to a few assistants, of whom Bernardo Bellotto (1720-80), the son of Canaletto's sister Fiorenza, was the chief; he worked in his uncle's studio from c. 1735 to c. 1745. It is possible that Canaletto's father also assisted him, with A. Visentini (1688-1782), G. B. Moretti and G. B. Cimaroli. The majority of Canalettoesque paintings not by the master's hand must, however, be considered the works of imitators.