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Canaletto “St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica”

Painting - Oil on Canvas (68.5 x 93.5cm) Galleria Nazionale Barberini Rome

Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
On the left is a part of St. Mark's Bell Tower and its pink loggia.

This allows us to see that at the time before it collapsed in 1902, the St Mark's Bell Tower was covered with a grey-beige coating, which gave it a very different appearance from its current brick red colour.

At the bottom of the square, the Procuratie are not yet those rebuilt by Napoleon Bonaparte because the Church of San Geminiano, destroyed by order of Napoleon, still stands amid the Procuratie.

On the right, there is a part of the clock tower and one of the bells, just above the lion of St. Mark.

The Procuratie's buildings then follow as they are still today.

Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
But the main interest of the scene, apart from the change of colour of the Bell Tower and the missing church of San Geminiano, is that of daily life in St. Mark's Square at that time with its street merchants, the nobles who meet there, and all the small people of Venice, busy.

It is also interesting to see that stalls were built, leaning on the Bell Tower wall to save the construction of the bottom wall.

On the other hand, they seem to be constructed of wood and not hardwood.

A few awnings, tied to piles, allow guests to protect themselves from the sun.

Still on the left, under large umbrellas, you can see chests and low furniture that are likely to be sold.

Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
On their right and behind them, we sell fabrics of all colours, just like in the right part of the square where we sell in addition a few items. It is more difficult to guess what may well be on the trestle table near the clock tower, perhaps engravings or drawings of a Canaletto competitor!

In the centre, in the foreground, we see some clergymen, nobles who exchange a few words, and one of them shows the Basilica by raising his cane, a maid who passes with her basket under her arm, a child playing with a dog, as well as several other small dogs scattered around the square. Nothing has changed since: Venetians always love dogs as much!

This painting makes us understand that St. Mark's Square was one of the privileged squares of meeting and trade of the Venetians of the 18th century.

Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
On the pictorial level, the rendering is somewhat steeper than in other paintings by Canaletto, but for his defence, it must be admitted that the decor of St. Mark's Square, so orderly, so perfectly drawn, framed and rectangular, up to the ground motifs, lends itself less to poetry than a view of the canal with its gondolas and gondolas in motion.

The bell tower on the left and the three red flag poles in the centre of the square allows Canaletto to happily break the extreme horizontal linearity of the facades.

Here everything is painted in such a way as to highlight the scenes of the life of the foreground before the immense architectural decor.

The colours of the clothes of passers-by and the fabrics sold in the shops, the welcome roundness of the umbrellas are in total contrast with the rest of the decor.

Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square and the Procuratie seen from the Basilica, Galleria Nazionale Barberini in Rome
Canaletto, St. Mark's Square Procuratie

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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