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Canaletto's views of Venice

These four paintings form part of a set of six by Canaletto depicting the Piazza San Marco and Piazzetta in Venice. They are some of the artist’s earliest works. The portrait format enhances the scale of Venice’s architecture, which we read as a faithful representation of the city. In reality Canaletto manipulated the topography to frame the spectacle of life there.

Acquired by George III in 1762 as part of the collection of Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice