The most amazing thing about these stunningly beautiful paintings is that they were purchased as souvenirs by the well-heeled travelers of the 18th century. And the second most amazing thing is that these scenes of Venetian canals were made by Canaletto – was there ever a more befitting name!!
Canaletto (meaning little Canal of Canal Jr.) was the nickname of Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768). He was a landscape artist of vedute or view paintings which were purchased by wealthy travelers who did the Grand Tour in the 18th Century. This was a cultural tour that young men from upper class aristocratic families would undertake – spending as much as three or four years in Europe, particularly Greece and Italy. Canaletto catered to the aristocrats and his paintings were some of the most prized souvenirs from these Tours.
Suddenly my two Venetian masks (which were probably made in China) that I bought as souvenirs from my 2-day trip to Venice don’t seem that great anymore!!