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Canaletto's Overdoors

Like many of his contemporaries Smith was deeply interested in the work of the sixteenth-century architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580), who advocated ideal buildings based on Classical values of harmonious proportion. In the early 1740s Smith commissioned Canaletto to make a set of 13 paintings as a tribute to these principles. They were intended to hang above doors in Smith’s palazzo, and show buildings by Palladio, other important Venetian architecture or sculpture in imaginary settings.