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“Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande” by Canaletto

Canaletto (II) 028

“Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande” by Canaletto

“Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande” by Canaletto depicts the Santa Maria della Salute (Saint Mary of Health), a large Roman Catholic church in Venice which is also one of the most recent of the so-called plague churches. It stands on the narrow finger between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water.

One hundred years before this painting was made in 1630, Venice experienced a devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build a church dedicated to Our Lady of Health. The church was designed in the baroque style and most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death. The dome of the church became an essential addition to the Venice skyline and emblematic of the city, which then inspiring artists like Canaletto and this painting.

This Canaletto is a typical example of the vedute paintings popular with Grand Tour travellers of the 1700’s as a visual record of their travels. Canaletto was one of the more famous painters of city views or vedute, especially of Venice. From 1746 to 1756 he worked in England where he created many paintings of the sights of London. He was highly successful in England and became famous thanks to the British merchant and connoisseur Joseph Smith who sold his extensive collection of Canaletto’s paintings to King George III in 1762. Canaletto’s paintings became highly prized as during the 18th century European monarchs vied for his grandest pictures.

Many of Canaletto’s paintings can be found in museums across the world, depict highly detailed, usually large-scale paintings of Venetian other famous cityscapes or vistas:

Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande

  • Title:                        Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande
  • Artist:                      Canaletto
  • Year:                        1730
  • Medium:                 Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions            44 × 89 cm (17.3 × 35 in)
  • Museum:                 Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Canaletto

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“There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world,
that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden.”

– Mary Shelley

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Photo Credits: 1) Canaletto [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons