Sunday, April 13, 2008

Canaletto and Belotto

Palazzo Bricherasio is a beautiful 17th century palazzo right in the middle of Torino. It's full of beautifully painted and ornate rooms, wood ceilings, sculptures and, grand chandeliers. The palazzo is still privately owned but is now open to the public for art exhibitions. This weekend we went to see the current exhibit 'Canaletto and Bellotto, Art of the Landscape'. Canaletto was a famous Venetian painter that was a favorite of the British nobles on the Grand Tour. Belotto was his nephew and apprentice. In fact Belotto painted so much like his uncle only the most subtle differences tell them apart and Belotto started signing many of his paintings Canaletto to show his association with his uncle. In actuality neither one of them was actually named Canaletto, it was a sort of nickname that became a nome de plume. Pier and I played a bit of a game wondering threw the rooms seeing if we could pick out who painted what before reading the plaque. Although Canaletto moved to London for a 9 years stint based on his popularity there, his most sought after paintings remained the romantic venation images of life on the Grand Canal. He moved back to his native Venice where he died in 1768. Belotto broke with his uncle and traveled all over Europe painting for kings and queens on commissions. He died in 1780 in Warsaw, Poland as court painter to King Stanislaw August. Many of the paintings in the exhibit are from private collections and are rarely seen in public. I felt lucky to have seen them and defiantly gained a new appreciation for the Canaletto(s). Of the two images I have put above, Can you tell which is which?

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