Bernardo Bellotto

Dates1722 - 1780

Bernardo Bellotto's work sometimes has been mistaken for that of his famous uncle Canaletto; the native Venetian spent most of his life outside Italy and signed his works abroad de Canaletto. Bellotto employed cooler colors than Canaletto, however, and showed a stronger feeling for landscape and sky in his vedute, or views. Inducted into the Venetian painters' guild at the early age of seventeen, Bellotto had an influential backer in his uncle Canaletto, who probably needed help to satisfy the great demand for his cityscapes.

Traveling to Rome and northern Italy in the 1740s, Bellotto painted his first vedute ideale, or imaginary views. Always maintaining his appreciation of architectural form and the varying tones of differing skies, Bellotto's compositions evolved from sparsely populated, evocative stillness to foregrounds of milling crowds and hustle-bustle. In 1747 he moved to Dresden, becoming the Saxon court's highest paid artist. With the Prussian occupation of Dresden in 1756, Bellotto worked in Vienna and Munich. In 1768 Bellotto became court painter in Warsaw. His topographically accurate vedute, valuable as both art and history, were used to reconstruct Warsaw after the Second World War.