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“The Grand Canal in Venice” by Canaletto

Canaletto Grand Canal from Palazzo Flangini - JPGM

“The Grand Canal in Venice from Palazzo Flangini to Campo San Marcuola” by Canaletto was painted in 1738. The composition is a veduta (Italian for “view”) meaning a highly detailed, usually large-scale painting of a cityscape or some other vista. This vendute painting depicts the upper reaches of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, near the entrance to the Cannaregio Canal.

The vantage point of this painting is in the middle of the canal, surrounded by gondolas, barges, and the buildings lining the banks of the Grand Canal. Many of the structures depicted in this 1738 painting still stand today. The painting pictures the traghetto, a ferry service using rowboats that were the primary means of crossing the Grand Canal before the construction of the many bridges that we can see today.

Canaletto - Bucentaur's return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale - Google Art Project

“Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale” by Canaletto,  1727 – 1729, Pushkin Museum

This famous 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. During 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 large 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 paintings.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto - Regatta on the Canale Grande

A Regatta on the Grand Canal seen from Ca Foscari, c. 1740 – National Gallery, London

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. My favourites include:


Essential Facts:

  • Title:                         The Grand Canal in Venice from Palazzo Flangini to Campo San Marcuola
  • Artist:                       Canaletto
  • Year:                         1738
  • Medium:                  Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions             47 cm × 78 cm ( 18 12 in ×  30 34 in)
  • Museum:                 Getty Museum

Artist Essential Facts:


“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) By J. Paul Getty Museum (J. Paul Getty Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Canaletto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons