One of Italy’s most famous painters, Canaletto carved a niche for himself through his paintings depicting beautiful and mesmerizing scenes from Venice and England. In Venice Canaletto was able to capture the serene beauty and magnificence of the opulent city of Venice, with England however the situation was a bit trickier. Canaletto became enamoured with England during a time with the country was undergoing rapid changes. A decade spent in England resulted in some of Canaletto’s masterpieces. Canaletto is one of the greatest landscape painters of the 18th century. With Canaletto’s master strokes, his landscapes became more than just basic scenery, they were the subject matter and captured in splendor. Apart from painting, Canaletto was also a printmaker and is regarded as one of the ‘old master painters’ of Venice – a group which boasts the likes of Giovan Battista Tiepolo, Francesco Guardi, and Guiseppe Maria Crespi.
Giovanni Antonio Canal was born on October 28, 1697 in Venice, to a painter father and homemaker mother. Due to his father’s work as an artist Canaletto developed a strong inkling towards art. Many die hard art lovers claim that there is more to Canaletto’s paintings then just his canal scenes of Venice, there is a sense of anticipation and innate beauty found in his paintings. During his tenure in England Canaletto painted numerous paintings, many art lovers state that Canaletto painted England as if it was Venice. He saw England in a very different light, despite the post-war scenario which had engulfed England close to the time when Canaletto moved there. Canaletto painted a different, vibrant and confidant England. For him England was the Venice of the new century complete with lush landscapes and great architecture. In many ways he was English by adoption due to the many years he spend there as an artist. Canaletto’s great work, The Old Horse Guards is legendary in every degree. A rich oil painting set against a vast background of the changing of the horse guards with minute figures, a lake and a playground. Canaletto’s expertise with colors gives the painting a great opulence and glow, one can’t help but feel uplifted by it. Through Canaletto’s paintings one saw an eclectic England embracing every change thrown its way, in many ways Canaletto elevated the status of England. For his paintings based in Venice, Canaletto hit the mark with his classic The View of the Molo. It is ironic that Canaletto painted this whilst he was in London; many believe it was nostalgia that drove Canaletto to paint this picture.
The painting shows a setting against the canal in Venice, to the eye it would seem like a normal every day scene in Venice but the way Canaletto has painted it is as if its straight from his heart. Though there are many figures within the painting it is the canal itself which truly is its star. In 2005 The View of the Molo was sold for £6 million in London. With Molo it is stated that Canaletto is at his best, the viewer can see the sun shining in the painting, how he managed to mix colors together to show the natural light was unbelievable. Canaletto was very secretive about his work, preferring instead to paint completely by himself. His shyness and reserved nature only adds to his personality as a great artist.