San Cristoforo, San Michele, and Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove, Venice
Canaletto ( Italian, 1697 - 1768 )
Canaletto was renowned in his lifetime for his city views, a subject he embraced early in his career. San Cristoforo, San Michele, and Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove, Venice is an early landscape representing the first phase of the artist's mature work. He had yet to develop the distinguishing features of his distinctive views: a crisp delineation of details, a fascination with light and reflection, and a composition organized with geometrical clarity. In this painting the approach is looser, with less emphasis on the precise rendering of monuments and the details of costumes and pageants. Only a few figures gather on the embankment on the northern shore of Venice, obscured by shadows at the left, bathed in brilliant light on the right. Like the arms of a broad V, the expansive composition opens up from the embankment to the horizon. The overall mood is somber, even brooding, with a gray-white light darting from behind passing clouds and illuminating the facades on the islands of St. Cristoforo and St. Michele. In the far distance is the island of Murano. This early and therefore somewhat atypical work of the great master of the 18th-century city views invites comparison with the landscapes of 19th-century romanticism.
Dorothy Kosinski, "San Cristoforo, San Michele, and Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove, Venice", in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection,_ _ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 86.
- Born the son of a painter, Canaletto's real name was Giovanni Antonio Canal. His nickname was most likely given to him to differentiate him from his father when they worked together as theatrical set painters.