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

Capriccio: a Palladian Design for the Rialto Bridge, with Buildings at Vicenza

Oil on canvas, 60,5 x 82 cm
Galleria Nazionale, Parma

In this work and its companion picture (Capriccio: The Grand Canal, with an Imaginary Rialto Bridge and Other Buildings, also in Parma) Canaletto created two of his most complex and intriguing capricci. He had already depicted an un realized scheme for the Rialto Bridge, but in these works went one stage further and painted alternatives to the actual bridge surrounded by a sophisticated and extensive group of invented buildings.

While the bridge and the buildings appearing on the companion piece are almost entirely imaginary, in this picture it is possible to locate the origin of a number of the buildings. The bridge is the same in both pictures, and the large structure to the right of it is copied from Andrea Palladio's Palazzo della Ragione in Vicenza. Part of the attraction of these works was clearly spotting such borrowings and in doing so displaying one's knowledge.