Giovanni Antonio Canal
Born October 28, 1697 – April 19, 1768, in Venice to Bernardo Canal
He was a son of the painter Bernardo Canal, hence his mononym Canaletto ("little Canal").
He is better known as Canaletto, was famous for his landscapes, or vedute, (Italian word for "view that is a highly detailed, usually large-scale painting of a cityscape or some other vista.)
He was also an important printmaker in etching.
He began painting his father's profession theatrical scenery. In 1790-20 he was influenced by the work of Giovanni Paolo Panini turning to topography.
In 1723 he was painting dramatic and picturesque views of Venice that had strong light and dark values.
Eventually Canaletto began to produce views set in a higher key with smoother, more exact handling characteristics that mark most of his later work.
Ceremonial and festival subjects eventually formed an important part of his works.
He also gave amplified attention to the graphic arts, making an extraordinary series of etchings. He also did numerous drawings in pen, and pen and wash, as independent works of art. This led him to change his painting style. He became more stylized in the way he handled his subject.
Much of Canaletto's early artwork was painted 'from nature', differing from the then customary practice of completing paintings in the studio
At the suggestion of Jacopo Amigoni he went to England In 1746 because the War of the Austrian Succession drastically curtailed tourist trade in Venice and the call for his work had dried up.
He started painting views of London and of various country houses. Canaletto's painting began to suffer from sameness, losing its flexibility, and becoming mechanical to the point that the English art critic George Vertue hinted that the man painting under the name 'Canaletto' was an impostor.
The artist was obliged to give public painting demonstrations in order to prove false this claim; however, his reputation never fully recovered in his lifetime.
Canaletto's early works remain his most coveted and, according to many authorities, his best. One of his finest early pieces is The Stonemason's Yard (1729, London, the National Gallery) which depicts a humble working area of the city.
In 1755 he returned to Venice and painting for the remainder of his life. It was told that he had amassed a fortune in Venice, however this was disproved by the official inventory of his estate on his death. Before he died a major part of his paintings were sold to George III.
Canaletto was highly influential in Italy and elsewhere. His nephew Bernardo Bellotto took his style to Central Europe and his followers in England included William Marlow and Samuel Scott.
The Stonemason's Yard
Piazza San Marco
The Grand Canal and the Church of the Salute, painted 1730.
View of the Entrance to the Venetian Arsenal, by Canaletto, 1732.
This 1752 painting of Northumberland House in London is an example of Canaletto's work during his residence in England.
The first Westminster Bridge as painted by Canaletto in 1746.
To see his complete works go to:http://www.canalettogallery.org/
I was just going through some old photos I took on my first visit to Venice in 2009, this is how it looks today.
My Hubby and me in Piazza San Marcos