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

The Grand Canal near Santa Maria della Carità

1726
Oil on canvas, 90 x 131,5 cm
Private collection

This painting belongs to the second pair of the four paintings ordered by Stefano Conti in 1725 from Canaletto. In this painting a medieval church takes centre stage. The view from the quay of the Rio della Carità (which has since been filled in) and over the bridge, shows the sturdy, fifteenth-century brick façade of Santa Maria della Carità, which now belongs to the Gallerie dell'Accademia. Barely visible, at the far right, is the façade of the monastery of the Lateran canons, to which the church belonged. The eye is led along the Grand Canal to its estuary in the Bacino near the Punta della Dogana. Beside the tower, which collapsed in 1741, the dome of the Salute rises a short distance above the small annex of the church.

Thematically, the present canvas and the Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola di San Marco, also representing a medieval church, form a lovely pair next to the two views of the Grand Canal, but it is unclear to what extent this was actually intended.

In this painting as well, the field of vision covers an angle of approximately ninety degrees. We may assume that Canaletto again began by making at least two topographical drawings on the spot, combining them in a single composition back in his studio.