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Drawings at Windsor Castle

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Venice: The Grand Canal, looking east from the Fondamenta delle Croce c.1734

RCIN 907472

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A drawing of a section of the Grand Canal in Venice. On the right is the church of Santa Croce, and in the distance is the dome of the church of San Simeon Piccolo.

The drawing shows the same stretch of the Grand Canal as RCIN 407367, looking in the opposite direction. In the right foreground is the simple conventual church of Santa Croce that gave its name to this sestiere of Venice, demolished in 1810 and replaced by communal gardens. Canaletto has omitted an arched window above each lateral door, an error corrected in a later drawing. Beyond is the dome of San Simeon Piccolo, rather reduced in height, with the belltower of San Geremia in the distance. To the left is the low pitched roof of Corpus Domini behind its convent wall, quickly followed by the tall façade of the Scuola dei Nobili, and further along the canal the churches of Santa Lucia and the Scalzi. Only the Scalzi remains today; the convent was demolished after its suppression in 1810, and all the other buildings to the left were pulled down by 1860 to make way for the railway station. In the left foreground is a burchiello being towed into the city.

The view was constructed from four openings of the Sketchbook. The painting at Woburn Abbey contrives a more distant view of the scene; a painting from the Harvey collection takes a higher viewpoint but otherwise agrees with the present drawing in most respects. The Harvey composition was engraved by Visentini for the 1742 Prospectus, and this became a popular view of Venice, repeated many times by Canaletto’s followers.

Catalogue entry adapted from Canaletto in Venice, London, 2005