CANALETTO
(b. 1697, Venezia, d. 1768, Venezia)

The Grand Canal from Rialto toward the North

1725
Oil on canvas, 89,5 x 131,5 cm
Private collection

This veduta is the pendant of the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge (private collection). Together they belong to the four paintings ordered by Stefano Conti. Taken from approximately the same vantage-point as its pendant, in this instance presumably at the corner of Palazzo Civran, it shows us the view to the north. On the left, next to the Fabbriche Vecchie, are the Fabbriche Nuove, with the campanile of San Cassiano behind them on the left; toward the middle of the composition the fish market and Cà Pesaro are silhouetted sharply against the sky. In the right foreground are the Palazzo Michiel, beyond them Cà d'Oro. In the distance, adjacent to Palazzo Vendramin Calergi in the middle of the scene, rises the campanile of San Marcuola.

It can be assumed that Canaletto painted the pendant while sitting on the adjacent terrace. This would mean that the two paintings together span one hundred and eighty degrees, a semi-circle. At the same time, they can stand as entirely independent compositions. In the veduta under discussion, the receding walls on the opposite sides of the canal form, as it were, a narrow pivot, anchored on the white cloud which fans out in all directions; this cloud is the main binding element in the composition. The tower of San Cassiano on the left and the terrace on the right mark the edges on both sides, and both point in turn to San Marcuola in the distance.

The composition sketch for this painting surfaced some years ago. Except for a few details in the arrangement of the ships, the drawing agrees completely with the painting. The shadows, too, are indicated precisely.