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Drawings at Windsor Castle

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Venice: The Rialto bridge from the south-west c.1740-45

RCIN 907466

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A drawing of the Rialto bridge in Venice, which crosses the Grand Canal. On the left of the bridge is the Palazzo dei Dieci Savi. To the right of the bridge is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and Palazzo dei Camerlenghi. The drawing is surrounded by a decorative border, which is drawn onto the same piece of paper.

The view is from the Riva di Ferro, where the Rialto vaporetto stop is now to be found. The bridge itself is accurately drawn, but the Fondaco dei Tedeschi to the right beyond is too high and narrow, and shown at too sharp an angle - the main fa├žade should be turned more towards the bridge.

The composition is close to those of a painting at Woburn Abbey and a ragged sketch in the Metropolitan Museum, both of which probably date from a decade or more before the present drawing. There are several later variants known and this must have been a stock composition in the studio.

Catalogue entry adapted from Canaletto in Venice, London, 2005