Canaletto (1697-1768), Piazza San Marco With the Cathedral (with details), c. 1725

This view of the Piazza San Marco demonstrates the great strides Canaletto’s style made in the 1720s. In this picture, painted only two years after his first view of this scene—the Piazza had meanwhile been paved—the square looks broader and more generous in its proportions. Canaletto’s palate has noticeably lightened. By now he was regarding the effect of light as highly important. He has carefully worked out the angle at which the light falls, and separated of light and shadow. The square is bathed in full sunlight, and the limpid air reflects the warmth of the sun. Looking at the scene in the background, we notice that the disorder of market stalls and traders in the picture painted two years previously has now given way to ordered clarity. The whole impression is of light and friendliness. The staffage figures populating the square are combined into pairs or groups.

Italian Masters: Canaletto — Dorothea Terpitz

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