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“Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale” by Canaletto

"Bucentaur's return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale" by Canaletto

“Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale” by Canaletto

“Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale” by Canaletto depicts the Doge’s golden vessel, the Buccentoro returning to the pier during a prestigious Venetian Festival.

The busy canal with its gondolas crowding in on the festival is contrasted with the splendor of Venice.  

In exquisite detail, we can see St Mark’s Cathedral, the arcades of St Mark’s library, the gothic lace of the Doge’s palace, the long granite columns, and the palazzos.

The annual festival depicted in this Canaletto painting is held on Ascension Day. The festival includes an ancient tradition that requires the Venetian Doge to sail to the Adriatic Sea and toss a gold ring into the sea as a symbol of Venice and the sea’s union.

This tradition ensured the prosperity of the City of Venice and her fleet. The journey begins at the Dodge’s Palace and ends at St Mark’s Cathedral. This painting captures the end of that journey.

This famous Canaletto is a typical example of the vedute paintings popular with Grand Tour travelers of the 1700s as a visual record of their travels.

Canaletto was one of the more famous painters of city views or vedute, especially of Venice.

Many of Canaletto’s paintings can be found in museums worldwide, depicting highly detailed, usually large-scale paintings of Venetian and other famous cityscapes or vistas.


Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768), better known as Canaletto, who was born in Venice, is famous for his paintings of the city views of Venice, Rome, and London. He was also a printmaker using the etching technique.

Canaletto worked in England From 1746 to 1756, where he painted many sights of London.

He was highly successful in England, thanks to a British merchant, whose extensive collection of Canaletto’s works was sold to King George III in 1762, which significantly increased Canaletto’s prestige.

Canaletto’s paintings became highly prized as, during the 18th century, European monarchs vied for his grandest pictures.

After his return to Venice, Canaletto continued to paint until his death in 1768. In his later years, he often worked from old sketches, but he sometimes produced surprising new compositions.

Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale

  • Title: Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale
  • Artist:                        Canaletto
  • Year:                         1727 – 1729
  • Medium:                   Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions              H: 1,820 mm (71.65 in). W: 2,590 mm (101.97 in).
  • Museum:                  Pushkin Museum

Canaletto Introduction 

 Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto)

Explore the Museums in Russia


Canaletto’s paintings in Buckingham Palace

Quotes about Venice


“Venice, it’s temples and palaces did seem like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley


“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”
– Truman Capote


“Though there are some disagreeable things in Venice, there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors.”
-Henry James


“In the glare of the day, there is little poetry about Venice, but under the charitable moon, her stained palaces are white again.”
– Mark Twain


“When I seek another word for ‘music,’ I never find any other word than ‘Venice.'”
– Friedrich Nietzsche


“An orange gem resting on a blue glass plate: it’s Venice seen from above.”
– Henry James


“Venice is the most romantic place in the world, but it’s even better when there is no one around.”
– Woody Allen


“Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee, And was the safeguard of the West: the worth Of Venice did not fall below her birth, Venice, the eldest child of Liberty.”
– William Wordsworth


“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; A palace and a prison on each hand.”
– Lord Byron


“If I were not the King of France, I would choose to be a citizen of Venice.”
– Henry III


Canaletto and the Vedute Room


“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


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

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