Antonio Canaletto was an Italian painter and printmaker, active during the 1700s. Canaletto is considered to be one of the Venetian old masters. Born in Venice, Canaletto’s father was a painter who started his son’s artistic training at an early age.
Imaginary View of Venice. 1740-42. British Musuem
The portico with a lantern, form the series “Vedute” c. 1740-44. Etching
Canaletto became know for his epic scenes of Venice and later London, where the artist lived during the 1750s. When Canaletto returned to Venice he worked at the Academy and had several pupils that became followers, making works similar in style and technique.
Al Dolo. 1735-46. Etching. National Gallery of Art
In addition to his grand paintings, Canaletto produced a large number of drawings and etchings. His most famous print series is “Vedute.” consisting of 31 etchings. Canaletto made the most etchings between 1735 and 1746. The exact year of creation for many of his prints is unknown. Canaletto’s shift towards printmaking occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession, which put a damper on British tourism in Venice. The majority of Canaletto’s patrons were based in England.
Ale Porte del Dolo. 1735-46. Etching. National Gallery of Art
One of Canaletto’s most important patrons was Joseph Smith, who purchased a large number of the artist’s paintings, drawings and prints. Smith also commissioned Antonio Visentini to create a number of engravings based on Canaletto’s paintings.
The Bishop’s Tomb. 1735-46. Etching
Canaletto’s etchings are incredibly detailed, rising to the level of expertise as his paintings. His prints are conserved in museum collections around the world.