It is no question why Venice, Italy is the perfect place to inspire artists and poets. The place is flowing with beautiful architecture and is a glorious place to be. So it isn't hard to see why Canaletto was attracted to it so much. Yet it wasn't just Canaletto, Venice was a popular focal point for many artists at this time and each one is passionate about the magic that this beautiful city holds. This is shown throughout the Venice paintings during this time. Being born in Venice in 1697 and died in 1768, Canaletto used his hometown for inspiration.Canaletto also had many fellow artists around him at this time period. Such as Giovanni Bellini, Joseph Heintz, then Gaspare Vanvitelli, Luca Carlevaris, John Richter. His followers were: Giovanni Battista Cimaroli, Antonio Joli, Michele Marieschi, Francesco Tironi, and his nephew Bernardo Bellotto, who was considered to be his equal and he was known to be his biggest rival. Canaletto was an inspiration to many who painted in Venice. Before the eighteenth century Venice was a safe city, with its shallow lagoons surrounding the city protected it by warships. According to the metmuseum.org: “That is until in the eighteenth century when Napoleonic forces invaded in 1797, the once proud, independent venetian city-state collapsed and the city never recovered its former eminence”. Through all of this hardship Venice remained a tourist spot. In the eighteenth century artists like Canaletto were more popular than ever. Venice was raging for art, poetry, music, theater, and gambling. This time period is the Enlightenment. New revelations are taking shape, and the art is showing it. The pieces are very precise and elaborate. The pieces specifically are influenced by Canaletto. In the book Venice :Canaletto and His Rivals by Charles Beddington he compares the Venice paintings from the more famous artists of the eighteenth century and they are very similar to one another. This is because Venice was such a high demand for art, so many artists were competing for the landscape paintings from the city. Like we have talked about in class with some artists, they were trying to one up each other on the same content. The clients were intrigued by all the different interpretations of Venice. Yet while all of this competition is happening they are also inspiring one another. Especially because the centuries before the majority of the paintings were portraits. So the landscape painting idea was exciting to these painters, and especially in Venice with all the important architecture. So why Venice? Through these painting you will not only find out why, but you will want to go live there as well.
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), Venice: Santa Maria della Salute, (Italian, Venice 1697–1768 Venice), oil on canvas, 18 3/4 x 31 1/4 in. (47.6 x 79.4 cm), 59.38
The piece Venice: Santa Maria della Salute by Canaletto is a delightful piece of art.The date was around 1768, and is an oil on canvas painting, and was 18 3/4 x 31 1/4 in. (47.6 x 79.4 cm). I was automatically drawn to the brightness, and liveliness it portrays.The painting is a scene from a crisp, clear morning in Venice, Italy. To the right of the painting is an elaborate domed building which takes up the right side, and uses warm gold and cream colors. To the left of the building is a body of water with clusters of boats occupying it. Behind this scene is a line of building smaller buildings taking up the horizon. These smaller buildings really makes the viewer have a sense of depth in the painting. With the large building, the smaller people and the tiny building receding in the background balances the scene as a whole very well. The piece shows a magnificent picture of everyday life in Venice and shows that through a particular scene of the beautiful town. I think that just by the visual analysis of it, I think that it masters the view of everyday life in Venice by the way that nothing looks staged, or posed. It is just an everyday picture of normal tasks such as fishing and walking the streets. It would be as if I went and took a picture of students at Covenant walking to class or going to the overlook, it is not anything special, yet it is relatable to us as the viewer, because we could see ourselves doing these very tasks.
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), Piazza San Marco, (Italian, Venice 1697–1768 Venice), late 1720s, Oil on canvas, 27 x 44 1/4 in. (68.6 x 112.4 cm), 1988.162
This representation that Canaletto did of the square of San Marco. As you can see Canaletto used similar sky features and displays the architecture in this square as he treated in the first painting,
Venice: Santa Maria della Salute. He also pays much attention to light and shadows in this painting as well as the first. You can actually look at the architecture and even the foreground in this painting and feel the warmth of the sun. This is one of Canaletto’s trademarks within his paintings is always being able to see the sun and the effects give a welcoming and warm tone. This painting is another example of life in Venice because the people seem to be doing everyday tasks. In the background of the painting in front of the building to the left, there are people sitting at a table with an umbrella blocking them from the sun. This is inviting us into the picture, are we at the table under the umbrella having brunch or are we walking along doing our errand running.
Bernardo Bellotto, View of the Grand Canal and the Dogana, about 1743, w236.9 x h139.1 cm, oil on canvas, From the collection of The J. Paul Getty Museum
Bernardo Bellotto was the nephew of Canaletto. Bellotto was known for his idealized views of Venice.Together Canaletto and Bellotto produced many painted vistas for tourists who stopped in Venice on their Grand Tour of Italy. Grand Tourists would have purchased these items as souvenirs and reflections of their cultural sophistication. This specific painting shows a busy sunny morning of the cross-section of Venetian society. This also shows Palazzo Pisani-Gritti with its arched windows and painted façade. A Venetian devotional box housing several types of religious icons hangs below the arched windows of the building at the left. This was a reminder to the Venetians to pause for a moment to pray as they were leaving or arriving. The Baroque church of Santa Maria Della Salute dominates the right bank, which is the focus of Canaletto’s first piece. It is known that the two had a rivalry. This is an example of Bellotto trying to one- up Canaletto. Next to it is a row of houses, and to the far right is the Dogana or customs building. This is a perfect example of Venice before the eighteenth century, safe, secure, and welcoming. Bellottos’ style of painting is similar to Canaletto’s, yet Bellotto uses more cool tones with specific warm qualities, whereas Canaletto uses mostly warm tones.
Antonio Joli, The Courtyard of the Doge’s Palace with the Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Giovanni Francesco Stoppani and Senators in Procession, 17 April 1741, about 1742, oil on canvas, 63 1/4 × 87 1/4 in 160.7 × 221.6 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Antonio Joli’s landscapes and architectural paintings take viewers to panoramic outlooks that highlight the magnanimity of human existence against a backdrop of scenery. This painting displays a scenery with clusters of people in the courtyard at the Doge’s Palace. He enlivened his paintings with human activity, imbuing each cluster of figures and animals with a vibrancy and sense of narrative. Joli’s preciseness makes his artwork stand out. The exquisite detail makes you feel like you have transported into this space. Also this painting like Canaletto’s involves this beautiful romantic blue sky. This painting also is a good example of one-point perspective. All the painting is pointing to the architecture in the back. This painting shows how important arches are to Italy. This building on the right is full of the arches. This shows Venice's history and what was once important to them.
Francesco Guardi, The Isola della Madonnetta on the Lagoon of Venice, c. 1785 - 1790, w55.2 x h35.6 cm (sight), from the Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, oil on canvas
Francesco Guardi's painterly style is known as pittura di tocco (of touch) for its small dotting and spirited brush-strokes. This particular painting shows a side to Venice that is not showed in the other paintings. This is a visual rest for the viewer. The scene is a Venetian home, with fisherman coming back to it after a long day's work. The sweeping clouds and subtle but beautiful sunset completes this painting. This painting can relate to us as viewers. We can relate to coming home after a long day's work. The loose way that Guardi paints presents a different way of seeing Venice, through the lens of a homeowner in Venice. This also is rather different than Canaletto, Bellotto, and especially Joli. This shows that during the same period of time even though these artists were inspired by each other, they were also trying to find ways to display Venice in a new different way.
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1727–1804 Venice), A Dance in the Country, , 1755, Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 47 1/4 in. (75.6 x 120 cm), 1980.67
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo was a talented genre painter, especially of scenes from contemporary life and the popular theatre, as in the decorations of his villa at Zianigo, Italy (now in the Civico Museo Correr, Venice). This is a different view of the famous Venice, we are literally in the space of the Venetians. This shows an actress dancing with a young man wearing the traditional costume of the commedia dell'arte character Mezzetino. This painting still has a piece of architecture and sweeping blue sky, yet we are seeing specific people. This scene makes it look like we are walking into a party in Venice. The way Tiepolo cropped his painting forces your eye to focus on even the little details wanting to finish the image. This is why Venice was so popular in this time. People were drawn to the energy and activity the magnificent city held. Like the women in the chair in this painting, let’s all sit and enjoy the wonders of these Venice paintings.