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

Rio dei Mendicanti: Looking South

c. 1725
Oil on canvas, 69,5 x 97,5 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Canaletto was to return to paint this scene on no less than twelve occasions in the 1720s and 1730s. This is a view from beside the Campo San Vio, looking towards the Bacino San Marco, with the dome of Santa Maria della Salute above the palaces at the right.

Canaletto has included a curious detail: a depiction of a boat on the wall of the building in the right foreground. Whether this was simply sgraffito or some form of trade sign is not entirely clear. Above it a woman looks down from a small balcony; Canaletto placed similar figures at the edge of a number of his pictures, in order to close off the scene. He also perhaps was trying to convince us that there were in fact vantage points from which the panoramas he shows could be viewed.

This work is from a group of early pictures by Canaletto, now in Dresden, which were part of the Elector of Saxony's collection during Canaletto's lifetime.