Learn about Venice
Time & Location
Our next lecture is by Anthony Russell who is a cultural historian, writer and artist. He has travelled extensively and now spends his time based in London as a lecturer.
This lecture will look at the work of artist Canaletto and his paintings of 18th-century views of Venice. Giovanni Antonio Canal – aka Canaletto ('the little canal') – was the leading painter of views of Venice in the 18th century. He established the veduta, or topographical view, both as one of the principal genres of Venetian painting and as one of the city's prime exports.
As Venice continued its long but sure decline, from great imperial power to tourist hub and floating museum, Canaletto profited. His principal clients were English, wealthy young aristocrats dispatched to continental Europe to enjoy the various pleasures of the Grand Tour. If Paris was the city of sophistication and Rome the city of the mind, Venice was the city of pleasure: a vast stage-set for regattas and festivals, masqued balls and every other form of nocturnal revelry.
Canaletto painted pictures that the English aristocracy could take home with them, the portable souvenirs on which they could hang their precious memories of youth and freedom.