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The Grand Canal series

The Grand Canal series—made up of 12 views of the same size and two festivals on larger canvases —was one of the principal commissions Canaletto painted for Joseph Smith. The series gives an almost complete picture of the entire length of the Grand Canal, and was painted in stages over a period of about ten years.

Map showing the points on the Grand Canal that the paintings depict

The locations of the paintings in the Grand Canal series ©

Joseph Smith displayed these paintings in his palazzo on the Grand Canal, where he was regularly visited by patrons and Grand Tourists, many of whom commissioned their own versions. Smith’s exact arrangement of the paintings is not known, but it may have begun with the Canale di Santa Chiara (no. 1) and ended with the mouth of the Grand Canal (no. 12). Smith had the set reproduced in etchings by Antonio Visentini and published them in the Prospectus in 1735, thereby making knowledge of Canaletto’s works much more accessible.

Through constant observation Canaletto captured moments of daily life and the picturesque beauty of his native city, imaginatively transforming them from prosaic transcriptions of reality into works of art.

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

3: San Geremia and the entrance to the Cannaregio

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

6: The Rialto Bridge from the North

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

A Regatta on the Grand Canal

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Bacino di San Marco on Ascension Day

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Arsenale

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The crossing of San Marco, looking north

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

The Colleoni Monument in a Capriccio Setting