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

Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the North-West Corner

c. 1760
Oil on canvas, 46,5 x 38 cm
National Gallery, London

Canaletto had earlier employed an arch to internally 'frame' a view in London (London: Seen Through an Arch of Westminster Bridge, 1746-47, private collection). He here uses such a device in a Venetian context, and effectively contrasts the darkened foreground with the brilliantly lit Piazza, so drawing the viewer into the scene. The flagstaffs before San Marco have been omitted, allowing an uninterrupted view of its facade.

The viewpoint complements that of the painting's companion picture (Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the South West Corner), which is also in the National Gallery, London. Both pictures are painted in what has been called Canaletto's late 'calligraphic' style, in which he employs a shorthand of dots and curved lines in order to place details such as highlights on figures.