The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey from the quayside houses and workshops on the Grand Canal’s upper reaches to the bustling festivities of a regatta and Ascension Day celebrations around St Mark’s Square. Canaletto brilliantly captures the effects of light on stone and water, and fills each work with a snapshot of Venetian daily life.
The son of a leading theatrical scene-painter in Venice, Canaletto followed the family trade. As a youth he travelled with his father to Rome to paint opera scenery, but abandoned the theatre to paint and draw the city’s classical ruins. From 1720 and for much of his career Canaletto was based in Venice, with the exception of ten years spent intermittently in England between 1746 and 1755. For 40 years he worked for an insatiable foreign clientele, particularly the English nobility on the Grand Tour.