Ode to Canaletto

copyright Maria Phillips 2014

A classic scene of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. I think had Canaletto lived today he would have been very impressed with the Fuji X100S, and would have most certainly been a photographer. His pseudo-realistic style changed and redefined classical art, being one of the first painters ever commissioned to produce a canvas that could be hung on a wall for decorative purposes. Up until that point, most artists were scenic painters for the theatre, also producing large frescos for the churches and cathedrals, so they were used to working in large scale. However, Canaletto’s style was so unique, almost photographic for the time that many nobles across Europe had heard about his artistic prowess and further commissioned paintings of their own that they could display proudly in their stately homes. He became famous for painting iconic cities, and what I love especially is that he always managed to imbue his scenes, no matter where they were, with that flavour of Venice his much beloved home. I completely understand it too, having had an affinity with this breathtaking city since my early teens. His name means ‘The boy from the Canals’.
Canaletto went on to influence many scene painters and scenic artists alike that came after him, such as William Turner for one who grew up along the banks of the Thames, a place Canaletto had famously painted some 100 years before. Both their study and treatment of light in their work is unparalleled by anyone else in the history of art in my mind. Truly remarkable artists, and my most favourite of all time. This then is my ode to them both, except my tools are a damned good camera and digital enhancement software to give the shot an extra burst of colour and light.

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