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crop of washer woman's hands and bucket

A look at how cleaning has been portrayed in Royal Collection objects

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Arch of Titus Signed and dated 1742

Oil on canvas | 192.2 x 106.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 401002

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Though typically associated with his scenes of life in Venice, in this painting Canaletto depicts the Arch of Titus in Rome. Canaletto did paint several Roman views for his chief patron, Joseph Smith, but it is thought that this painting was produced after a drawing made in Rome by the artist’s nephew, Bernardo Bellotto (1720–80). Either Bellotto observed, or Canaletto decided to include, a woman in a window in the upper left of the composition, hanging out a piece of cloth to dry in the sun, while a group of ‘Grand Tourists’ admire the arch from the street below. This detail typifies the way that eighteenth-century Romans lived alongside the remnants of their ancient city.