Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian, Venetian, 16971768)
Etching; 11 13/16 x 17 1/8 in. (30 x 43.5 cm)
Purchase, Gift of Mary V. T. Eberstadt and Bequest of Gertrude Moira Flanagan, by exchange, 1973 (1973.634)
Venice in the eighteenth century was the site of an extraordinary flourishing of print production, which reached its apogee in the years 174045. It was in these years that Canaletto, the great painter of views of Venice and also of England during his sojourn there, made approximately thirty etchings: thirteen large plates and seventeen smaller ones. The title plate to the series states that these are "Views, some representing actual sites, others imaginary." This is one of the imaginary views, reminiscent of Venice and the lagoon. For an unknown reason, Canaletto divided this plate down the middle, between the backs of the two central figures, soon after it was made. Fewer than ten impressions are known from the undivided plate. The date, 1741 in Roman numerals on the wall at the left, is the only one on any of Canaletto's prints.