Canaletto (1697 - 1768)
- Venice: the Bacino di San Marco from the Canale della Giudecca
- c. 1735 - 1744
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 130.2 x 190.8 cm
Object size: 157 x 220 x 16.5 cm
- West Gallery I
- Although Canaletto’s views were essentially topographically accurate, he used some artistic licence to make his compositions more appealing to tourists. Canaletto would thus idealise his native city to create prospects which sometimes surpassed reality and included as many tourist sites as possible. A good example is found in this painting, where the artist squeezed the Dogana in the left foreground and changed the Library’s actual position in order to include both in the same composition.
This painting, together with its pendant (P497), form a pair of two large views which show the Bacino di San Marco from opposite vantage points; Canaletto often depicted famous places in Venice from opposite views. P499 looks towards the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, in the distance on the right, with the Riva degli Schiavoni in the background. In the left foreground is the Dogana da Mar, the customs house. Its low tower is crowned by a bronze sculpture of two male nudes supporting a gilded globe, topped by an allegorical figure of Fortune holding a sail reflecting Venice’s maritime trade.
Both P499 and P497 were acquired by the 1st Marquess of Hertford at an unknown date, probably as a reminder of the Grand Tour he undertook in 1738-9.