The Campo S. Basso: The North Side with the Church (recto); A Market Scene (verso)

Object Details

Title:

The Campo S. Basso: The North Side with the Church (recto); A Market Scene (verso)

Artist/Maker(s):

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian, 1697 - 1768)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

1740s

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, over black chalk

Dimensions:

43.2 x 29.2 cm (17 x 11 1/2 in.)

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Sharply receding to the left, a row of buildings with shops along the ground floor exhibits a multitude of architectural details. This view of the north side of Saint Mark's Square features its celebrated clock tower, topped by bronze figures that strike the hours. Yet the church bells on the far right actually belong to a rooftop two buildings away. By moving the bells to the side of the drawing, Canaletto emphasized the receding perspective. He frequently distorted and rearranged monuments to suit his refined sense of composition.

Canaletto probably enlisted the aid of a camera obscura, a ruler, and a compass to produce this sketch, reworking it later in his studio. He often referred to drawings for guidance and inspiration. He may also have used this sketch as a pattern for a larger painting from his workshop. Canaletto left many notes on the sketch, including one to remind himself of the drawing he made on the verso–a market scene of elegant gentlemen mingling with vendors among an array of merchandise.

Exhibitions
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001, (Cat. verso)
Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour (February 5 to May 12, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 5 to May 12, 2002, (Cat. recto)
Light and Water: Drawing in Eighteenth-Century Venice (May 17 to August 21, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to August 22, 2004, (Cat. recto)
Ten Years of Drawings: What, How, and Why (January 29 to May 4, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 29 to May 4, 2008, (Cat. recto)