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Canaletto “The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice”

Painting - Oil on canvas (143 x 200 cm) 1723 Ca' Rezzonico Museum

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
This painting of the Rio dei Mendicanti depicts the canal that connects the Fondamente Nove to the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo Square, opposite the Cavallo Bridge, which can be seen sketched in the bottom.

The Rio dei Mendicanti corresponds to the border between the Sestieri of Castello (left) and Cannaregio (right).

This canvas has been painted from the top of the bridge dei Mendicanti, which runs along the bank of the Fondamente Nove.

We are here far from the Grand Canal and its rich and imposing palaces.

Canaletto wanted to paint “his” city, the so-called minor Venice, that of the Venetians “natural” in this painting.

And as such, everything is there, from the workers of the shipyard to gossip on the bridge, to the beggar, the old man who leans on the wall, the housewife at her window shaking her broom, the laundry that dries in oriflamme on and between the facades and even on the "Altanes" (wooden terraces on the roofs of Venetian houses).

This paint shows the genuine everyday life of the Venetians, with scenes that can still be seen today in the same place.

The “street” of Rio dei Mendicanti

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Rio dei Mendicanti
On the left bank, you can see a part of the facade of the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti adjacent to the convent dei Mendicanti, all ending with the Scuola Grande San Marco, which can be seen topped with sculptures facing Campo San Giovanni e Paolo (in the Castello in Venice).

Today, all the buildings on this shore are part of the Civil Hospital in Venice and have lost their religious character, except for the church, accessible to the sick of the hospital.

On the right side, palace point, but large popular dwelling houses.

Apart from the large building and the wooden bridge that connected it to the left bank, everything remained identical, including the “Squero”, the shipyard that became the nautical club (the "Remiera") of the employees of the insurance company Generali and now a modern gallery of art.

Here too, the treatment of perspective is remarkable, with no leaking background: we enter the picture without “sinking” into it, which helps us to read it more easily, without the eye being drawn into "a corridor".

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
To avoid this, Canaletto uses the light that bathes the facades to shape his perspective as in his painting from the “Grand Canal seen from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto Bridge”.

As such, linen, like gondolas, play an essential role, from the top of the roofs to the water level.

The positioning of the painter's eye and ours is also clever to achieve this: we are perfectly horizontal, the view is neither diving nor rising; it is one of the techniques peculiar to Canaletto.

The beauty of the daily life of the Venetians seen by Canaletto

There is nothing impressive in this painting at the architectural level.

Apart from the small facade of the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti and a slight sketch of the back of the front of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, it is the simple and laborious Venice that is presented here.

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
In the centre of the painting, the most present bridge is a wooden bridge of the most ordinary.

The facades are uniform, and the "Squero", the shipyard, is a cluster of old barracks poorly fitted with each other without any consistency.

And yet, it is a superb painting, pleasing to the eye, filled with poetry and life.

Here beauty is found in authenticity.

Canaletto uses no artifice; architecture disappears for the benefit of man.

On the left bank of the painting, on the Fondamenta dei Mendicanti, several groups attract our eyes. In the foreground, two men who argue, one of them is wearing a tricorn, further, a beggar or at least an old bearded man laid his stick against the wall and faces one of the pillars of the church.

Difficult to say what he does, even if one can imagine that he... relieves himself in this hidden angle of the shore!

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Not far away, an old man leans on the wall with one hand and his cane on the other while trying to hear what the three men speak about together a few metres away.

A little further, probably a young boy, given his small height, sits at the edge of the stairs that go down to the water.

Likely, the boatman with a red hat and his brown jacket standing on his Sandolo is approaching to pick him up.

Just before him, another gondola adorned with a "Felze" has just left the shore, which is particularly well seen by the position of the gondolier who must push firmly on his oar to give him momentum.

On the left, other characters occupy the rest of the scene; one designates a boat in hand, two women are in conversation on the shore, and two others on the deck, basket in the arm.

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Along the wall, between the wooden bridge and the Scuola San Marco, are hung about twenty canvases of which it is difficult to guess the use.

Probably bags to pack the goods transported aboard boats moored on the shore and dry to be ready for the next day deliveries.

But the most intense element of life is in the right part of the picture.

We see here the domestic life with these canvases and laundry that dry in the wind along the facades and on the terraces of the rooftops.

The painting shows us an uninterrupted laborious life with those workers of the small shipyard who put a gondola in the water.

One of them has water to its knees, while another push on its oar driven to the bottom of the canal to help the boat get better into the water, a gesture accompanied by the effort of the other three workers pushing on the stern of the gondola.

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
An opportunity to see that at the time the depth of the Rio was to be relatively small in this place.

Another man is standing on their right and tries to see what is happening on the side of the bridge dei Mendicanti; he clings to the wall to avoid falling into the water, a typical gesture that can still be seen in Venice.

Two floors above this man, so worse for him, a housewife shakes her broom out the window while watching for what is happening in front, on the Fondamenta dei Mendicanti.

Under the wooden deck, a man is storing something at his feet while his neighbour shakes a cloth or maybe wet fishing nets.

A little further, a small boat loaded with bags of goods is stationed along the wall.

We only need the sound to listen to the music of this slice of life in the neighbourhood.

The true talent of Canaletto can be found in this painting!

Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti
Canaletto, The View of Rio dei Mendicanti Canal at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Ca' Rezzonico Palace Museum in Venice
Canaletto, View of Rio dei Mendicanti

Paintings Grand Canal Balbi | Grand Canal Foscari | Rialto Bridge | Mendicanti | Saint-Mark | Piazzetta | Rome
Canaletto Life and Career | Paintings
Painters Tintoretto | Canaletto | Albrecht Dürer |
Art Painters | Music | Literature | Video | Pictures



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