VISENTINI, Antonio
(b. 1688, Venezia, d. 1782, Venezia)

San Geremia and the Entrance of Cannaregio

1735
Etching
Royal Collection, Windsor

Characteristic of the manner in which Smith, Canaletto's 'manager' marketed the artist's work is the commission he gave the painter in about 1730: the Prospectus Magni Canalis Venetiarum. The plan initially involved twelve views of the Grand Canal as an elaborate portrait of the entire waterway. When they were finished, according to plan the series was engraved in 1735 by the distinguished printmaker Antonio Visentini, and complemented with two more prints after paintings of traditional festivals. The original paintings were all in Smith's keeping, as is clearly indicated by the message to potential buyers on the frontispiece of the printed series: In Aedibus Josephi Smith Angli.' At first Smith was not willing to part with the originals, however; clients were to order autograph copies of one or more of the views from the artist through him. Only in 1762, toward the end of his long life, did Smith decide to sell the series, together with his other Canalettos, en bloc to George III of England. Since then these paintings have been in the British royal collection.




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