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Canaletto's Roman Views

1742 Canaletto made a set of paintings for Joseph Smith of five large views of Rome’s greatest ancient monuments. Canaletto visited Rome early in his career and must have relied on his drawings from that time as source material. Prints and architectural treatises in Smith’s library would have also provided images. Antoine Desgodets’s (1653–1728) prints in Les édifices antiques de Rome of 1682 were especially useful, as well as the drawings by his nephew Bernardo Bellotto (1720–1780), who was training in his uncle’s studio and spent a few months in Rome in 1742.

Rome was the high point of the Grand Tour and the monuments are seen through the eyes of brightly dressed tourists. Some carry guidebooks, while others are accompanied by a soberly dressed guide or cicerone.

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Arch of Septimius Severus

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Ruins of the Forum looking towards the Capitol

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Pantheon

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Arch of Titus

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Arch of Constantine