View of the Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum

Object Details

Title:

View of the Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum

Artist/Maker:

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

Culture:

Italian

Date:

1742 - 1745

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

83.2 × 122.9 cm (32 3/4 × 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.

Provenance
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.

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.]

Exhibitions
Old Masters from Houses in Kent (1937)
  • Unknown, 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)
  • 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
Bibliography

Constable, William G. Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962) vol. 1, pp. 122-23; vol. 2, p. 362, no. 383 (2nd ed., Oxford 1976, vol. 1, p. 123; vol. 2, p. 390, no. 383).

Berto, Giuseppe and Lionello Puppi. L'Opera completa del Canaletto. Classici dell'arte Rizzoli, no. 18 (Milan: Rizzoli, 1968; reprint March 1981) p. 108, no. 212.

Puppi, Lionello. The Complete Paintings of Canaletto (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1968) p. 109, no. 212, ill.

"The Sale Room." Apollo. (March 1971) p. 232, ill. p. 233, no. 8.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972) p. 58, no. 68.

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972) unpaginated, no. 22, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975) pp. 70, 103, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976) p. 69.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jírí Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978) p. 87.

Wallen, Burr. The William A. Gumberts Collection of Canaletto Etchings. exh. cat. (Santa Barbara Museum of Art: 1979) p. 27, fig. 10.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) unpaginated, no. 20, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) p. 81.

Mitchell, Paul. "Italian Picture Frames 1500-1825; A Brief Survey." Furniture History, vol. 20. (1984) p. 24, pl. 28D.

Corboz, André. Canaletto: Una Venezia immaginaria, 2 vols. (Milan: Alfieri Electa, 1985) vol. 1, pp. 68, 69, 123; vol. 2, ill., p. 653, no. P320.

Baetjer, Katharine, and J. G. Links. Canaletto, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989) pp. 211-14.

Levey, Michael. The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. (1964) 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1991, p. 16, under no. 370.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 20, ill.

von Hase Salto, Maria Aurora. "Herrlichkeit und Verfall, Grausamkeit und Busse." Antike Welt 1, 33rd year (2002). p. 38, and ill. in color p. 41.

Beddington, Charles. Canaletto in England: A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006) pp. 156-57, no. 51.

Tillyard, Stella. Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 (London: The Folio Society, 2007) p. 240, ill.

Tice, James T., and James G. Harper, eds. Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour, exh. cat. (Eugene, OR: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, 2010) pp. 160-61, 191, no. 82, ill., entry by James G. Harper.

Tice, James T., and James G. Harper. "Introduction." In Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour, exh. cat. (Eugene, OR: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, 2010) p. 12.

Bevilacqua, Mario. "Plans, Views, and Panoramas: The Visions of Vasi, Noli, and Piranesi." In Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour, exh. cat. (Eugene, OR: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, 2010) p. 38.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Buildings, Buildings Everywhere

Students learn about shapes in architecture by painting their school and writing a reflective summary of their study of architecture.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Three/Five-Part Lesson