U3A Shipley store tours: 'The Molo, Venice, Looking West, in the style of the artist Antonio Canaletto

The local U3A group has kindly given us the scripts from some of their store tours, to help our visitors enjoy our collections from home.

'The Molo, Venice, Looking West, in the style of the artist Antonio Canaletto

Antonio Canaletto (style of) (1697-1768), ‘Grand Quay, Venice: Church of Santa Maria Della Salute’ or ‘The Molo, Venice, Looking West’, oil on canvas, c1750

The name on the frame of the painting is Luca Carlevaris (1663 - 1730) yet the date of the work is given as 1735 – 1765. A bit of a mystery! Carlevaris was an Italian painter and engraver of landscapes. He studied mathematics, science, perspective and architecture in order to follow his father’s profession before becoming an artist. He worked mostly in Venice and is regarded as the father of 18th century Venetian view painting (vedute) and his paintings of Venice are among the earliest Baroque depictions of the city. His interest in mathematics is reflected in his rigorous perspective settings and his works were the foundation on which Canaletto, who was a pupil of Carlevaris, built. However, because the costumes depicted are too late for Carlevaris, this painting has been dated as being produced in about 1750.

Caneletto (1697 -1768) was born in Venice, the son of Bernardo Canal. He served his apprenticeship with his father, a theatrical scene painter, and started to paint the daily life of the city and its people after becoming interested in vedute paintings. He studied under Carlevaris and produced a great number of paintings, which were bought by people from England. He came to London to paint scenes and to be near his clients who would buy them.

Grand Quay, Venice: Church of Santa Maria Della Salute’ or ‘The Molo, Venice, Looking West’ is full of detail and is lit from the left showing strong light and shade of cool, low, grey and green shadows. The view from the Molo (quay) shows the entrance to the Grand Canal at the right of the church of Santa Maria della Salute.

To the right of the quay there is a column of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice, with a winged lion on top (the symbol of St. Mark and of Venice, and one of St. Theodore who was a previous patron saint. On the quay there are a number of temporary canvas booths. To the right at the foot of the column there are men with bird cages.

There is a stage with a performer and audience. There is washing hanging out. There are people on balconies observing the scenes below. To the front left there is a ship unloading, the moving of a barrel being observed by an official.

The lagoon is busy with gondolas ferrying people and other boats carrying out business. One would have to look at this painting for a long time to take in all the details.


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