The number of works by Antonio Canal “Canaletto” in Great Britain is enormous. Here we have already told you about some of his paintings in collections in the United Kingdom, and even about paintings he made there, such as his impressive London seen from an arch of Westminster Bridge, since his fame was such that he even went to the English capital for a while given his large and we althy clientele.
Canaletto's Stonemason's Courtyard
Well, today we bring you another painting by this Italian painter that is kept in the National Gallery in London. It is the Stonemason's Courtyard, an oil on canvas that he would make between 1726 and 1730. An early work of a different tone from his famous vedute or views in which the most festive Venice is seen, lavish and monumental as in The Arrival of the French Ambassador.
Here we are before a more intimate work, and almost certainly commissioned by a Venetian client, and not a foreigner. It is as if he is looking at his city from a rear window, overlooking a patio or work space, hence his title. Although the truth is that it portrays a plate or field that was then under construction, the field of San Vitale. A square located next to the Grand Canal and on the other bank the church of Santa María de la Caridad, a temple that can be seen perfectly in the image and that today is neither more nor less than the Academyof Fine Arts in the city of canals.
In this early painting it is very interesting to study its color and light. To begin with, everything has a tone of great warmth and the author's loose brushwork is noticeable. In the sky storm clouds seem to threaten, but at the same time the atmosphere is opening up, as if the sun and its light were going to win, which creates strong shadows on the urban elements, on which abrupt diagonals are marked that make up the space and the architectures we see.
That's the picture, the vedute, but then there's life, and that's put by several humble characters, workers and children, far from the pageantry to which the most typical Venetian scenes have accustomed us. You can distinguish a woman with her broom, a child in diapers, another woman who hangs the sheets, various characters from the common people, and of course several stonemasons shaping the stone. All this is like a snapshot of a moment in a somewhat dilapidated and deteriorated city. ACanalettomore intimate and surely more realistic than he became extraordinarily famous and shaped the most glamorous image of the city of him.