Rivers by Bernardo Bellotto, Canaletto

Here is a selection of rivers painted by Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780), the famous Venetian artist whose Roman landscapes we’ve already explored.

Bellotto – who shares the nickname “Canaletto” with a more famous uncle, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), under whom he began his career – is the protagonist of a theater play by Cesare De Seta, who imagined a conversation between the famous vedutista and some colleagues of his.

Here are a few excerpts from the Neapolitan playwright’s work that regard Rome, whose Tiber is among the famous Italian rivers featured in the gallery below.

“I was twenty years old when I decided to go to Rome, and I do not know whether my uncle ever went there or not, with the grandfather whose name I bear. I arrived in the winter of 1742. It was a huge city that almost frightened me, under a ceaseless rain. I rushed to see the sights despite the weather, and caught a glimpse of the Coliseum from Campo Vaccino, in the fog. Everything seemed unreal, almost out of a fairy tale.”

“I portrayed the harbor settling on the same side, from a centered perspective angle. In fact, the beautiful architecture of the port is barely visible: I was more interested in the bank, in the wing of buildings with Palazzo Borghese in the foreground, in the elegant factory on the background, where vanishing lines converge. I lingered especially on the people that happened to be there: I stepped back – as I did in other paintings as well – behind a curtain arranged as a sunshade. I do not think that the Port of Ripetta has ever been represented in quite the same way” (translated from C. De Seta, “Venezia e Moby Dick”, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 2016).

"Bridge of Ships in Verona", 1745-1756, oil on canvas, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

"View of Verona with Castelvecchio and Scaligero Bridge over the Adige", 1745-1746, oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art

"Capriccio with the Bridge of Ships in Verona", 1745-1746, pen and ink, Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle

"Vaprio d'Adda", 1744, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Vaprio d'Adda and Canonica towards the south", 1744, oil on canvas, Rome, private collection

"View of the old bridge over the Po in Turin", 1745, oil on canvas, Galleria Sabauda, Turin

"Ponte Vecchio, Florence", before 1747, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts , Boston

"Arno and Ponte Vecchio, Florence", 1742, oil on canvas, private collection

"The Arno in Florence with the bridge at the Carraia", 1745, oil on canvas, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

"View of the Tiber at Castel Sant'Angelo", 18th century, oil on canvas, Institute of Arts, Detroit

"The Tiber with the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini and Castel Sant’Angelo", c. 1742, oil on canvas, private collection


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