Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto


A native of Venice, Canaletto specialized in charmingly descriptive views of the city, which were highly sought after by European aristocrats traveling to Italy on the Grand Tour. This carefully structured landscape places the viewer amid a busy market at the Molo, a pier adjacent to the Doge’s Palace, seen at left. The meticulously described architectural features of the palace contrast with the calligraphic, somewhat abstracted rendering of figures populating the foreground. The drawing exemplifies Canaletto’s late work in its combination of brown ink and gray wash and his use of the paper’s white reserves to evoke sunlight playing over masonry.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto
Italian, 1697–1768
The Riva degli Schiavoni seen from the market at the pier, after 1755
Pen and iron- gall ink, and brush and gray wash, over traces of graphite
The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray; 2019.836
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.