Who was Canaletto?

Canaletto (1697–1768) A Regatta on the Grand Canal about 1740 The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London.

Canaletto’s masterpiece A Regatta on the Grand Canal is on display at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from Saturday 11 July to Sunday 13 September as part of a tour from its home at the National Gallery.

Canaletto was an 18th century artist famous for his detailed paintings of landscapes and cityscapes.

Born in Venice in 1697 as Giovanni Antonio Canal, he was the son of theatrical scene painter. After an apprenticeship in the same trade as his father, he eventually specialised in paintings of important features and major events in the city which he sold to tourists after finding a ready market.

The majority of those tourists were from Britain and his work became very popular amongst English art collectors visiting Venice whilst touring Europe.

During war in Europe the number of visitors declined. As a result he spent a considerable amount of time painting British scenes between 1746 and 1756.

He worked from meticulous drawings and even used a camera obscura to accurately depict landscapes. Known for his careful compositions as well as stunning detail, Canaletto became hugely influential in the rise of landscape painting as an art form.

He continued to paint right up to his death in 1768.

Find out more about the Canaletto exhibtion.

Image: Canaletto, A Regatta on the Grand Canal © The National Gallery, London. Bequeathed by Lord Revelstoke, 1929

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St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth formed part of the Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, which was home to the author of the first history of England, the Venerable Bede.


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