Capriccio: A Palace with a Courtyard by the Lagoon

Capriccio: A Palace with a Courtyard by the Lagoon

c. 1750-1755

Antonio Canaletto

(Italian, 1697-1768)

Pen and brown ink and brush and gray wash with brush and black ink, over traces of graphite (?), framing lines in brown and black ink

Support: Cream(1) laid paper

Sheet: 26.9 x 42.1 cm (10 9/16 x 16 9/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1930.23

Fun Fact

The round building in the distance, across the lagoon, is reminiscent of the Pantheon—a former Roman temple located in Rome.

Description

Privileged young Europeans embarking on the Grand Tour during the 1700s invariably visited Venice, where they purchased paintings, prints, and drawings to commemorate their trip. Canaletto’s vedute (view paintings) were particularly desirable as mementos of the city. This drawing is a capriccio—an artistic fantasy of architecture and landscape. Canaletto often referred to actual buildings in his capricci, manipulating and combining them to create his invented views. The palatial structure in this composition appropriates the neo-Palladian portal to the Palazzo Tasca in Venice; however, the lagoon, peasant figures, and architectural details are artifice. Traces of Canaletto’s graphite underdrawing are visible in the cloudy sky, as are the black chalk lines he carefully ruled in prior to delineating the building with pen and brush. The brown ink outlines of the composition contrast with Canaletto’s tints of transparent gray wash, which animate the drawing through their effect of flickering sunlight. Though three large, painted capricci paintings share compositional elements with this drawing, it is unclear whether it is a preliminary study, or an independent work of art.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar.