DRAWINGS

What they are and why are so important

Usually drawings are considered as a “first step which leads to a painting”, and they can so to be considered also in Canaletto’s case.

But not really, and not all the time, because Canaletto’s drawings are very much like paintings by themselfs, after all, with all the needed details and perfectionism, only without the color.

The same perfection Canaletto was attaining in his paintings, he was putting in the drawings, so the same care, emotion, life of his paintings, can be found in his drawings too.

And sometimes more, because: if a painting (Rococo Era!) can be considered a process of re-creating reality as closely as possible, a drawing may mimic that reality (without color!), but its immediateness (with Canaletto this is something that needs some extra analysis, though) and freedom of creating lines and surfaces, goes beyond reality itself, ends up more in the dream domain.

Canaletto’s drawings do have incredible three-dimensionality, depth, presence, dynamics, as his paintings have, of course.

It would really be interesting to know how much time Canaletto would dedicate to each drawing - the more elaborate and 3D ones, maybe, not the rough drafts or sketches - to be possible to closely understand his creation/production process.

As much as he was doing the drawings to fulfill his commitments (works ones, money for sure) it must have been for him a full immersion in the subject, at that moment.

And as much as the paintings Canaletto made in his lifetime, the drawings - first draft of an idea for a pianting, most of the time - show the energy and maniacal precision he would put in describing a situation, and all the brushstrokes he, Antonio Canal, would personally put on the canvas, and not one of his studio assistants (who? this is not documented …)

Worth giving a look to his drawings in detail, to better understand his painting work and dedication and what was going on in his head that he would transfer to his fingers.

Let’s not forget that on a painting you can change what you have previously done, scrape and paint over a mistake, have a pentimento, a second thought.

But on a drawing this process is almost impossible, at least not in the ink and pen phase, right after the pencil first drafting lines …

A drawing is more like a snapshot photograph flowing from the eyes/brain setup of the painter/photographer to its paper final destination: immediateness & energy in its most crude finalization.

 

Canaletto:  [ca. 1745] - Venice - Piazza San Marco, looking north-east from the Procuratie Nuove - Drawing - Pen and ink, with bluish-grey wash, over free and ruled pencil and pinpointing - Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 907427
Canaletto: [ca. 1745] - Venice - Piazza San Marco, looking north-east from the Procuratie Nuove
Drawing - Pen and ink, with bluish-grey wash, over free and ruled pencil and pinpointing - Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 907427 - size (HxW): 19.7x28 cm

Canaletto:  [ca.1755-60] - A capriccio with a monumental staircase  - Drawing - Pen and ink, with grey wash, over ruled and free pencil and pinpointing - Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 907564
Canaletto: [ca.1755-60] - A capriccio with a monumental staircase
Drawing - Pen and ink, with grey wash, over ruled and free pencil and pinpointing - Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 907564 - size (HxW): 36.3 x 53.1 cm

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