Giovanni Antonio Canal: (Venice, Republic of Venice, October 28, 1697 – April 19, 1768), better known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes, or vedute of Venice. He was also a significant printmaker in etching.
He was a son of the painter Bernardo Canal, hence his nickname Canaletto. His nephew Bernardo Bellotto was also a landscape painter; he sometimes used the name of Canaletto to further his own career.
Canaletto was born in Venice on October 28, 1697 to Bernardo and Artemisia Barbieri, and served his apprenticeship with his father and his brother. He began in his father's occupation, that of a theatrical scene painter. Canaletto was inspired by the Roman vedutista Giovanni Paolo Pannini, and started painting the daily life of the city and its people.
After returning from Rome in 1719, he began painting in his famous topographical style. His first known signed and dated work is Architectural Capriccio (1723, Milan, in a private collection).While he studied with the older Luca Carlevaris, a moderately talented painter of urban cityscapes, he rapidly became his master's equal.
In 1725, the painter Alessandro Marchesini, who was also the buyer for the Lucchese art collector Stefano Conti had inquired about buying two more views of Venice, when the agent informed him to consider instead the work of "Antonio Canale... it is like Carlevaris, but you can see the sun shining in it."
Much of Canaletto's early artwork was painted 'from nature', differing from the then customary practice of completing paintings in the studio. Some of his later works do revert to this custom, as suggested by the tendency of distant figures to be painted as blobs of colour - an effect produced by using a camera obscura, which blurs farther-away objects.
However, his paintings are always notable for their accuracy: he recorded the seasonal submerging of Venice in water and ice.
Canaletto's early works remain his most coveted and, according to many authorities, his best. One of his finest early pieces is The Stonemason's Yard (1729, London, the National Gallery) which depicts a humble working area of the city.
Later Canaletto became known for his grand scenes of the canals of Venice and the Doge's Palace. His large-scale landscapes portrayed the city's famed pageantry and waning traditions, making innovative use of atmospheric effects and strong local colors. For these qualities, his works may be said to have anticipated Impressionism.