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Drawings at Windsor Castle

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Venice: The lower reach of the Grand Canal, looking east c.1734

RCIN 907461

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A drawing of part of the Grand Canal in Venice. The church of Santa Maria della Salute dominates the right hand side of the composition. The building on the left hand side is part of Palazzo Corner della Ca' Grande.

The view was taken from a landing stage at the end of the Calle del Dose da Ponte. In the left foreground is the side of Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, seen in the painting from Campo San Vio (Royal Collection, RCIN 400518). In the distance are Santa Maria della Salute and the Dogana, with the masts of ships anchored in the Bacino beyond. All of the Salute, except for the domes, is now obscured from this position by the neo-gothic Palazzo Genovese, built at the end of the nineteenth century on the site of the abbey of San Gregorio, whose low waterside buildings are seen here.

This is one of the most beautiful of Canaletto’s pen drawings, given an unusual degree of atmosphere by the application of a few dabs of wash at lower left. The composition is based on a free pencil study in the Sketchbook. Paintings of a similar view do exist, but none is closely related.

Catalogue entry adapted from Canaletto in Venice, London, 2005