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Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The central stretch of the Grand Canal c.1734

RCIN 907471

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This series of drawings shows various points along the Grand Canal. The drawings capture the canal’s busy atmosphere, with figures in gondolas, rowing boats and caorlinas (cargo boats).

The drawings appear as if they have been drawn from a boat in the centre of the Grand Canal, with the buildings on each side converging to the horizon. In fact they were carefully put together in the studio as a finished series, probably as a gift or commission for Joseph Smith. Although the buildings were meticulously laid out in pencil first, the rippling water, clouds and birds were added directly in pen and ink, showing the qualities of penmanship that were admired by connoisseurs and collectors.