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Veduta immaginaria di Venezia : La casa con l’iscrizione (left) and La casa con il peristilio (right)
[Imaginary view of Venice: The House with the Inscription and The House with the Peristyle]
Etching, about 299 x 217 mm each. Bromberg 13, only state, B. 14, 2d state (of 2) with the A.C. signature bottom right below the borderline; Montecuccoli 12 and 13.
Superb impressions printed on laid paper with the Three crescents watermark and AS countermark: Montecuccoli 11b: lifetime impression published by Giambattista Pasquali between 1752 and 1759.
In very fine condition. A very faint printing crease. Usual vertical fold at the center of the sheet. Wide margins (sheet: 415 x 515 mm).
The date, 1741, is etched in Roman numerals on the house to the left. This Imaginary View of Venice is the only etching dated by Canaletto, who started to etch in the early 1740s, before he left for England.
The English consul Joseph Smith, a collector and patron of the arts, funded the publication of the remarkable collection of 31 etchings Vedute Altre prese dai i Luoghi, altre ideate da Antonio Canal […] [Views representing real places and imaginary views]. The imaginary views do not have engraved titles.
Before Canaletto, other Venitian engravers had associated real and imaginary elements in their prints, for example Marco Ricci, whose collection of twenty etchings of landscapes was published in 1730.
Canaletto’s etching style, with strokes that are often described as “squiggly”, is what gives his views of Venice their peculiar atmosphere. The mysterious characters that populate these views further contribute to this singularity, like the man sitting on the far right of this Imaginary View of Venice, and who seems to be watching the horizon beyond the boundaries of the picture.