View of the Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum

Object Details


View of the Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum


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




1742 - 1745


Oil on canvas


83.2 x 122.9 cm (32 3/4 x 48 3/8 in.)

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Canaletto specialized in vedute, or views, of Venice that he sold to tourists on the Grand Tour in the 1700s. For a brief time in the 1740s, he painted scenes of contemporary life set around the principal monuments of ancient Rome, based either on drawings made during an earlier visit to Rome or on engravings by other artists. Both groups of his views appealed to the traveler as well as the antiquarian.

Seen through the central bay of the Arch of Constantine is the Colosseum, which Canaletto shifted to the left in the interests of compositional design. Figures converse, stroll, or carry out daily chores in the vicinity of these ancient buildings. To the left, a lone man sits on ruins with his back to the viewer, perhaps sketching or writing. Wealthy tourists and their servants laden with goods contrast with the poor Roman natives who have nothing, such as the woman who lies against the Arch or the man with a cane at the right. In this painting, Canaletto seems to remark on the gulf between Rome's ancient glory and the city's current impoverished state.

1820 - possibly 1843

James Whatman II, died 1843 (Vinters, Kent, England), by inheritance to his eldest son, James Whatman III.

possibly 1843 - 1887

James Whatman III, died 1887 (Vinters, Kent, England), by inheritance to his eldest daughter, Mary Dugdale, 1887.

1887 - possibly 1931

Mary Dugdale, died 1931 (Vinters, Kent, England), by inheritance to her sister, Louisa Elizabeth Whatman, possibly 1931.

possibly 1931 - after 1937

Miss Louisa Elizabeth Whatman, died 1950 (Vinters, Kent, England)

by 1953 - 1957

John C. Quilter, sold to Gooden & Fox, 1957.


Gooden & Fox (London, England), sold to Henry G. Martin, 1957.

1957 - 1970

Henry G. Martin (London, England) [sold, Martin sale, Christie's, London, November 27, 1970, lot 51, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Old Masters from Houses in Kent (1937)
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972) (Cat. 22)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
Rome on the Grand Tour (January 8 to August 11, 2002) (Cat. 22)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 8 to August 11, 2002
Canaletto in England: A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755 (October 19, 2006 to April 15, 2007) (51)
  • Yale Center for British Art, (New Haven), October 19 to December 31, 2006
Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour (September 25, 2010 to June 12, 2011) (Cat. 82)
  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, (Eugene), September 25, 2010 to January 2, 2011
  • Princeton University Art Museum, (Princeton), March 6 to June 12, 2011
Education Resources

Education Resource




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