Master of Rococo painting

Canaletto's maturity = success

Canaletto's style but also his reception had improved greatly by around 1735.

At this time he was already well established as "the best view painter in Venice" ... and in the Italian Peninsula too, and his Venetian views were really outstanding.

The landscape of the city of Venice have always been very peculiar and nice - could make a good painting - and Canaletto was putting its soul and life in his over-precise and over-detailed paintings, if Rococo was the style of the times ... he was fitting right in.

Business was at this time already well established by his "promoters":
- Anton Maria Zanetti di Girolamo was a close friend of the Canal family and since the beginning of Canaletto's career was helping in promoting the diffusion of his work.

- Joseph Smith (1674 ca. - 1770), the Consul of England, was in love with Canaletto's art - and possibly making good money out of it too - and since 1723-24 was keeping the contacts with British buyers, enthusiasts or art dealers, and by 1730 was his exclusive agent.

- The Grand Tour with its foreign visitors (rich tourists we would call them nowadays) was doing well.

- Stefano Conti, a merchant from Lucca, was buying his paintings since 1725, as we can see from the receipts Canaletto made to him in another page.

- And Owen Swiny, having failed his theatrical career, since 1721 is working as an agent signing Italian opera talents and commissioning works from Italian artists for collectors back in England, and since 1727 was already representing Canaletto's business in England.

- Who knows if Smith's idea he suggested to Canaletto to make smaller paintings  (for better transportation and more affordable prices, I guess) could have been a shrewd marketing choice?

In 1723-24 he had asked Canaletto to make 12 paintings in the more or less size of 46x78 cm, which was rather uncommon at the time, being that paintings size was around 1.5 or 2 square meters, and more. But Canaletto was putting so much detail in his paintings that even in the small ones - looking from closer - everything was there, and you could enter the atmosphere. Like having a high-definition painting.

Wasn't the tendency of Rococo to get as close as possible to replicate reality on canvas?

To make the viewer feel he's there, and Canaletto got closer to this idea than any other view painter of his time, except maybe Vermeer, but the Dutch was doing Genre painting compositions, and not View paintings. And Venice always provided strong magical viewing sensations, no doubt about that.

But photography is just around the corner, we are just one century from the first daguerreotype.


Canaletto:  [ca. 1726-27] - San Geremia e l'ingresso a Cannareggio (San Geremia and the entrance to Cannareggio) - Oil on canvas - Royal Collection Trust
Canaletto: [ca. 1726-27] - "San Geremia e l'ingresso a Cannareggio" (San Geremia and the entrance to Cannareggio)
Oil on canvas - Royal Collection Trust - size (HxW): 78.5x47.2 cm

Canaletto:  [1736-40] - Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo col monumento a Bartolomeo Colleoni - Oil on canvas - Royal Collection Trust
Canaletto: [1736-40] - "Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo col monumento a Bartolomeo Colleoni"
Oil on canvas - Royal Collection Trust - size (HxW): 46.4x78.4 cm

Canaletto's works from the 1730s

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