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

Entrance to the Grand Canal: Looking East

c. 1725
Oil on canvas, 65 x 98 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

The magnificent Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute, designed by Baldassare Longhena, dominates the scene at the right. To the left of centre, in the middle distance, can be seen the Doge's Palace, and further over the Campanile of San Marco.

Canaletto was to return to paint this view on a number of occasions, and it is instructive to compare this, his first interpretation of it, with a later treatment (in the Royal Collection, Windsor). In this picture the agitated brushwork effectively evokes a stormy sky and blustery breeze. By contrast, in the later painting the scene is one of far greater serenity, with no sails billowing in the wind, and all the architectural details clearly described. The comparison illustrates more than simply a shift in style, however; it suggests Canaletto found a challenge in reworking a familiar subject, so creating a quite different experience for the viewer.