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Canaletto Art Prints and Posters
The spookily named Giovanni A. Canal was born in Venice but later simply became known as 'Canaletto' ('him what paints a neat inland waterway'). His father was a theatrical scene painter so, as soon as he was knee-high to a palette knife, little Canaletto (or 'Culvert' as he was known then) began helping poppa in the studio, after which he went to Rome and studied perspective with Panini, the architectural artist (and well-known breadstick) who got him interested in painting the trendy new cityscapes known as 'veduta'.
On returning to Venice he began turning out wonderful panoramas of 'Wetville', which were soon spotted by Grand Touring English toffs who'd stopped off to change their cultural worldview and travellers' cheques. However, there is no truth in the rumour that gondoliers warbling 'Just one Canaletto'... to the tune of 'O sole mio' promoted his works.
On returning to Blighty the Grand Tourers would then bore the breeches off their posh pals by 'getting out the Canalettos'. When the Austrians waded into Venice in 1846 the tourists marched out and, as the locals wouldn't touch his work with their collective gondola poles, Canaletto followed the smart money to England where he stayed for the next 11 years painting great views of the Thames and tittling up Palladian mansions in an up-market, eighteenth century version of 'Changing Rooms': 'And guess what, Letitia! Whilst you were out disemboweling foxes, we got Antonio Canaletto to rag roll your en suite tack room with a vista of the Grand Canal!' After Canaletto's death, his nephew Bernardo Bellotto continued to paint in the style made famous by his uncle (but only did scenes featuring bells).Copyright Michael Cox