Investigating Caneletto

Martin Gayford of Bloomberg has a good review of the new National Gallery, London exhibition on Caneletto and his followers.  The interesting aspect is the exhibition compares and contrasts Caneletto's works to his rivals.

I found the article interesting as it mentions the use of the camera obscura which many early artists appeared to have used. Click HERE for a Wikipedia post on the camera obscura.  The article states that many artists used the camera obscura in order to obtain true and correct architectural features. If there is a catalog to the show, it might be interesting to have for an appraisal library as the exhibition compares and contrasts many subtle differences in the paintings.

Gayford writes

It’s an old-fashioned show, all about connoisseurship -- that is, who made which picture, and when? Views of 18th-century Venice present thorny problems of that kind, as so many of the artists who did them were connected in some way to Canaletto, otherwise known as Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768).

The exhibition is made up of his work, plus that of his predecessors, pupils, competitors, and two of his nephews. On show are numerous paintings that closely resemble each other. Never before can so many views of the Grand Canal and Doge’s Palace have been shown together in one place.

The show makes close comparisons between highly similar pictures. Here’s a view of “Campo Santa Maria Formosa” by Canaletto, and here’s one of the same subject by his nephew Bernardo Bellotto (1722-1780). Spot the difference! There are certainly conclusions to be drawn from such juxtapositions. In this case, the Bellotto is plainly better than his uncle’s work.

All those comparisons are likely to bemuse visitors who aren’t specialists in 18th-century Venetian view painting (close, presumably, to 100 percent of them). That’s a shame, because the show contains fabulous pictures, including moody early Canalettos in which he almost seems like a pre-Romantic artist.
To read the complete article on the Canelleto exhibtion, click HERE.

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