“Eton College” by Canaletto
“Eton College” by Canaletto depicts the famous school and its chapel as viewed from across the river Thames. The general position of the chapel, as shown, is correct, but many of the other buildings’ details are invented.
Canaletto did staying nearby at Windsor in 1747, but this painting seems to be a later work that was produced from sketches and his memory.
The composition is an imaginary view referred to as ‘capriccio,’ and the boundary in some of Canaletto’s works between the real and the imaginary is never quite clearcut.
The view may not be an accurate record, but it is expertly composed, with the various figures are fishing, punting, and strolling by the river providing animation to the scene.
The tree framing on either side of the composition and the shadowed foreground all lead the eye to the college.
Eton College was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI of England to give needy students a free education that would allow them to attend King’s College in Cambridge.
Henry planned to make the nave of the college chapel the largest in Europe, with religious relics to set up the college’s status.
However, when Edward IV deposed Henry VI in 1461, the new king withdrew the college’s generous finances, and it fell onto wealthy patrons to support the school. Today, Eton College is an English independent boarding school for boys and one of the most expensive UK schools.
Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, was an Italian painter of Venice, Rome, and London’s city views. From 1746 to 1756, he worked in England, where he created many paintings of London’s sights.
He was highly successful in England. He became famous thanks to the British merchant and connoisseur Joseph Smith, who eventually sold his extensive collection of Canaletto’s paintings to King George III in 1762.
During the 18th-century, as European monarchs competed for his grandest pictures, Canaletto’s paintings became highly prized.
Many of Canaletto’s paintings can be found in museums worldwide, depicting highly detailed, usually large-scale paintings of Venetian other famous cityscapes or vistas.
- Title: Eton College
- Artist: Canaletto
- Year: 1746-54
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions H: 62 cm (24.4 in); W: 108 cm (42.5 in)
- Museum: The National Gallery, London
- Artist: Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto)
- Born: 1697 – Venice, Republic of Venice
- Died: 1768 (aged 70) – Venice, the Republic of Venice (now Italy)
- Nationality: Venetian
- Notable works:
- Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale
- The Grand Canal in Venice
- The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice
- Piazza San Marco with the Basilica, Venice
- Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande
- A Regatta on the Grand Canal
- Prà della Valle in Padua
- “Capriccio: Ruins and Classic Buildings” by Canaletto
- Eton College
Canaletto: A collection of paintings
A Tour of the National Gallery
17th Century Paintings
- “Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio – 1601
- “Samson and Delilah” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1610
- “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary” by Diego Velázquez – 1618
- “The Judgement of Paris” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1635
- “Aurora abducting Cephalus” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1637
- “Equestrian Portrait of Charles I” by Anthony van Dyck – 1638
- “Venus at her Mirror” by Diego Velázquez – 1651
- “The Courtyard of a House in Delft” by Pieter de Hooch – 1658
- “Self Portrait at the Age of 63” by Rembrandt – 1669
- “A Young Woman standing at a Virginal” by Johannes Vermeer – 1670
18th Century Paintings
- “Bacchus and Ariadne” by Sebastiano Ricci – 1713
- “A Regatta on the Grand Canal” by Canaletto – 1740
- “Mr. and Mrs. Andrews” by Thomas Gainsborough – 1749
- “Eton College” by Canaletto – 1754
- “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” by Joseph Wright of Derby – 1768
- “Self-portrait in a Straw Hat” by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – 1782
19th Century Paintings
- “Portrait of Doña Isabel de Porcel” by Francisco Goya – 1805
- “The Emperor Napoleon I” by Horace Vernet – 1815
- “Dido Building Carthage” by J. M. W. Turner – 1815
- “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows” by John Constable – 1831
- “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey” by Paul Delaroche – 1833
- “The Fighting Temeraire” by Joseph Mallord William Turner – 1839
- “Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway” by J. M. W. Turner – 1844
- “Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence” by Frederic Leighton – 1855
- “Madame Moitessier” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres– 1856
- “The Gare St-Lazare” by Claude Monet – 1877
- “Bathers at Asnières” by Georges Seurat – 1884
- “Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh – 1888
- “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” by Henri Rousseau – 1891
- “After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself” by Edgar Degas – 1895
- “Boulevard Montmartre at Night” by Camille Pissarro – 1898
“Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton,
but the opening battles of all subsequent wars have been lost there.”
– George Orwell
Photo Credits: 1) Canaletto [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons