Monday, June 22, 2020

Meticulous Freshness --- Days 9/68,69 & 70

Walks: 1. Presidio  2. No  3. Hood Monday errands
Distance: 1. 3 miles, yoga  2. Yoga  3. 4 miles, yoga

Canaletto (Venice 1697- Venice 1768), The Bacino di San Marco on Ascension Day, c. 1733-4 

Sheltering at home on a foggy San Francisco summer day Ciwt's mind goes to Venice and the galaxy of artists who have have taken its ancient splendors and pearly light as subject. Amongst the many who have captured its canals, palaces and people, perhaps the most well known and beloved is Venetian born Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto.

The Venice Canaletto painted had declined from her former eminence as a maritime and commercial power. And her High Renaissance greats, Titian, Tintoreto, Veronese had long since passed away.  Venice had become more of a theatrical city by Canaletto's time, devoted to luxury, filled with political corruption, cherishing its pageantry and intrigues.  And Canaletto was a master at capturing in extraordinary detail the full sweep of its azure canals, slightly decayed architecture, and ongoing carnival atmosphere.

His stunning compositions, freshness of touch and flair for color made Canaletto the darling of international travelers on their Grand Tours, particularly the English. Later, in the 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs competed with each other to acquire his top works. That the British Royal Collection in London contains the finest and largest group of paintings, drawings and prints is no accident because they were bought directly from Canaletto's greatest patron, Joseph Smith, by none other than a young George III.  And to this day his sparkling and easily recognizable views of Venice remain beloved among collectors and museums goers - and a balm for foggy - as well as sunny - days.

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