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(känälĕt`tō), 1697–1768, Venetian painter, whose original name was Antonio Canal. He studied with his father, Bernardo Canal, a theatrical scene painter, and spent several years in Rome. Returning to Venice, he devoted himself to painting the linear, dramatic, and topographically accurate Venetian scenes upon which his fame chiefly rests. From 1746 to 1755 he lived in England and produced many fine landscapes, notably those of Eton College. He painted series of picturesque views for English collectors, one of which is in the collection of the Duke of Bedford. Canaletto is unsurpassed as an architectural painter. His works are finely detailed yet delicate and airy. Among his notable works are View on the Grand Canal and Regatta on the Grand Canal (National Gall., London); Church of Santa Maria Della Salute (Louvre); View of Venice (Uffizi); and The Piazzetta, Venice (Metropolitan Mus.). He was a master draftsman and produced many superb drawings and etchings that were not preparatory but complete in themselves. Examples of Canaletto's works are in the major European and American collections. His nephew and pupil, Bernardo Bellotto, was also called Canaletto.


See studies by V. Moschini (tr. 1956) and W. G. Constable (1961, 2d ed. rev. 1989).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(real name Giovanni Antonio Canale). Born Oct. 18, 1697, in Venice; died there Apr. 20, 1768. Italian painter, master of the architectural landscape.

Canaletto studied under his father, the theatrical artist Bernardo Canale. Working primarily in Venice, he also worked in Rome (1719–20 and c. 1740) and London (1745–55). He was influenced by the Venetian landscape painters L. Carlevaris and M. Ricci. Canaletto painted panoramic landscapes, depicting primarily architectural landmarks of Venice and colorful episodes from urban life. He also painted views of England.

Canaletto’s works are characterized by objective precision of drawing and perfection of perspective. These elements are combined with an elegant, vibrant color scheme; airy effects; and ceremonial, pageant-like composition. Canaletto made many landscape etchings, which are distinguished by spontaneous observations and gentle chiaroscuro gradations (series Views, 1740–44). B. Bellotto, who was Canaletto’s nephew and pupil, inherited his sobriquet.


Constable, W. G. Canaletto, vols. 1–2. Oxford, 1962.
[Berto, G., and L. Puppi.] L’Vopera completa del Canaletto. Milan [1968].
Links, J. G. Views in Venice by Canaletto. New York, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


original name Giovanni Antonio Canale. 1697--1768, Italian painter and etcher, noted particularly for his highly detailed paintings of cities, esp Venice, which are marked by strong contrasts of light and shade
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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