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View of the Grand Canal and the Dogana
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Bernardo Bellotto
Italian, Venice, about 1740
Oil on canvas
53 1/4 x 91 1/4 in.
91.PA.73

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Bernardo Bellotto was the nephew of Canaletto, a painter renowned for his idealized views of Venice. Together they produced many painted vistas for tourists who stopped in Venice on their Grand Tour of Italy. Grand Tourists would have purchased these types of paintings as souvenirs and reflections of their cultural sophistication.

In this architectural record of Venice and the Grand Canal, Bellotto presented a cross-section of Venetian society going about business on a sunny morning. Light from the east falls upon the Palazzo Pisani-Gritti with its arched windows and painted façade. A Venetian devotional box housing various types of religious icons hangs below the arched windows of the building at the left. Such boxes were usually placed on a building right next to the canal so that passers-by could pause for a moment of prayer upon leaving or arriving.

Its image reflected in the canal, the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute dominates the right bank. Next to it, behind a shadowy row of houses, stands the Gothic façade of the Abbey of San Gregorio. On the far right is the Dogana or customs building. Gondolas and ferries, modes of transportation still in use today, traverse the water between the two banks. The mouth of the canal, where seafaring vessels leave or enter the city, is visible in the distance.


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View of the Grand Canal, Poster