„Bernardo Bellotto was the nephew of Canaletto, a painter renowned for his idealized views of Venice. Together they produced many painted vistas for tourists who stopped in Venice on their Grand Tour of Italy. Grand Tourists would have purchased these types of paintings as souvenirs and reflections of their cultural sophistication.
In this architectural record of Venice and the Grand Canal, Bellotto presented a cross-section of Venetian society going about business on a sunny morning. Light from the east falls upon the Palazzo Pisani-Gritti with its arched windows and painted façade. A Venetian devotional box housing various types of religious icons hangs below the arched windows of the building at the left. Such boxes were usually placed on a building right next to the canal so that passers-by could pause for a moment of prayer upon leaving or arriving.
Its image reflected in the canal, the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute dominates the right bank. Next to it, behind a shadowy row of houses, stands theGothic façade of the Abbey of San Gregorio. On the far right is the Dogana or customs building. Gondolas and ferries, modes of transportation still in use today, traverse the water between the two banks. The mouth of the canal, where seafaring vessels leave or enter the city, is visible in the distance. “ *
„View of Rome from the Tiber is one of five views of the Castel S. Angelo and the Church of St. Peter’s seen from the Lungotevere. Each differs slightly from the others in such details as the reflection of the bridge in the water and the disposition of the boats and figures in the foreground; but the scenes are all alike in the distance from which the artist viewed his subject. A sketch in the Paul Oppé Collection (William Marlow, St. Peter’s and the Castel S. Angelo, 1765-66) is identical to the scene in the Philadelphia painting in all important respects. The pen sketch contains color notes and is inscribed Roma and so can be dated to 1765-66, when Marlow was in the city. “ *
„Francesco Guardi was, after Canaletto, the main painter of views of Venice in the 18th century. His early figurative paintings were carried out in association with his brother, Gian Antonio, but in about 1760 Guardi turned to view painting. Following Canaletto he recorded both the architecture of the city and the celebrations of its inhabitants in interior and exterior scenes. These works brought him great success.
Francesco Guardi was born in Venice, the son of a minor painter, Domenico Guardi. In 1719 his sister married Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who may have influenced the vivacity and bright colouring of Guardi’s figures.
While Guardi followed Canaletto in producing views or vedute, he soon developed his own style, based on a freer handling of paint. He took particular pleasure in rendering the vibrant atmosphere of Venetian light and its dazzling effect on water.
The more ‘impressionistic’ approach of Guardi also found expression in small-scale imaginary scenes or capricci, of which there are many surviving examples, such as ‘An Architectural Caprice’.“ *