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Padua: The River Bacchiglione and the Porta Portello

Artist:
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian, Venice 1697–1768 Venice)
Date:
ca. 1750–60
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, gray wash
Dimensions:
7 5/16 x 10 7/16 in. (18.5 x 26.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.293
Not on view
In brown ink and grey wash, Canaletto captures the bustling traffic along the Brenta Canal in Padua. The monument at left, the Porta Portello, represents the old gate of Padua on the road to Venice. Designed in 1518 and a work of great distinction, it survives today much as Canaletto describes it. The bridge, too, stands on its original piers.
This drawing once formed part of the legendary collection of the French connoisseur, Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774). His collector’s mark appears on the sheet at the lower right. In his letter to a Venetian architect in 1768, Mariette recorded his admiration of the drawing, and of Canaletto as a view painter:
"M. Canale est excellent dans son genre. J’ai de lui quelques dessins qu’il a fait dans sa faveur, entre autres une vue de Padoue, qui est un excellent morceau. Si je trouvais quelques autres dessins de lui, du meme temps et de la meme force, j’en ferais volontiers l’acquisition."
["Monsieur Canaletto is excellent in his genre. I have from him several drawings which he made in his prime, including among other things a view of Padua, which is an excellent piece. If I find other drawings by him, of the same period and the same quality, I will gladly acquire them."]
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