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

San Marco: the Interior

c. 1755
Oil on canvas, 36,5 x 33,5 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

Canaletto rarely depicted interiors; this is one of only two paintings by him of the inside of San Marco. It was probably executed soon after he returned from England to Venice, and was painted as a companion picture for a depiction of the Scala dei Giganti in the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale.

Canaletto painted a view looking towards the rood screen, decorated with garlands at the east end of the church, from a point near to the entrance. Beneath the arcade to the left of the nave a priest can be seen officiating at a small altar. Canaletto has effectively captured that most elusive of effects - the way the little light which enters the building plays upon the extensive mosaic decoration above. Many people are shown at prayer, and two small dogs cower in the right foreground.