Canaletto à Venise

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Canaletto, 'Piazza San Marco' / Collezione privata / © DR
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Canaletto, 'Vue du Canal Grande de Palazzo balbi vers Rialto', circa 1726-1728 / Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi / © Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
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Canaletto, 'La Piazzetta vers la Pointe de la Douane et le Canal Grande', 1730 / Knutsford, The Egerton of Tatton Park / © NTPL/John Bethell
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Canaletto, 'Le Palais des Doges et la Rive degli Schiavoni, 1730 / Knutsford, The Egerton of Tatton Park / © NTPL/John Bethell
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Canaletto, 'Vue des églises du Redentore et de San Giacomo', 1747-1755 / Collection particulière, Courtesy of Galerie de Jonckeere / © Galerie de Jonckeere
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Canaletto, 'La Scala dei Giganti', 1755-1756 / Alnwick Castle, collection of the Duke of Northumberland / © Collection of the Duke of Northumberland

Venice, that fantasy city, owes its fame in part to the vedutisti, the 18th-century Italian painters who specialised in cityscapes. Famously, they captured the glowing charm of the canal-woven metropolis in images that remain some of its most evocative portraits. Giovanni Antonio Canal, nicknamed Canaletto, was one of the most skilled artists of this discipline. In the wake of the Enlightenment, his brush immortalized both the floating city of his time and moments of its everyday life. Using an optical chamber to trace contours – a process borrowed from Caravaggio – he took the utmost care over perspective and the effects of light, imbuing his paintings and drawings with the timeless aura of the city of the Doges.

This exhibition has toured Rome, Treviso, London and Washington, and now it’s Paris’s turn to celebrate Canaletto through these 50 carefully selected works. From the Piazza San Marco to the Lido beach, via the Bridge of Sighs, the Rialto, La Fenice and the Tintoretto, all the splendours of Venice are honored at the Maillol Museum.