Canaletto (aka Giovanni Antonio Canal)
The Portico with the Lantern
about 1735–1743; published about 1744–1746
Vedute Altre prese da i Luoghi Altre ideate (Views, Some Taken from Places, Others Invented)
Southern Europe, Italian, Venice
11 3/4 in. x 17 in. (29.85 cm x 43.18 cm)
Medium and Support:
Etching on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Jr., in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Sr.
The two most powerful and mature etchings in the "Vedute..." series are the large plates called "The Portico with the Lantern" and "La Torre di Malghera" (1985.4.5). The first describes a romantically imaginary yet solidly believable scene of modern life among ancient ruins; the second depicts a now lost 15th-century monument of the lagoon near Mestre set defiantly against the sea and sky. Both are works of great compositional and technical complexity that nonetheless convey effects of powerful simplicity. A wide range of etched lines—thick and thin, straight and curly, broken and continuous—vibrate in the creation of convincing atmospheric effects whether dealing with actual or invented sites. Canaletto’s depiction of the hot and humid atmosphere of Venice and its environs exceed all other plates in the series for coloristic effects. These two images alone would merit Canaletto a central position in the development of etching. Indeed, they rival his most successful painted achievements. The poetry of these scenes, and their evolution within the series of endlessly varied exploration of the medium and the subject, elevate the genre and the technique above all other similar work being done at the time.
See "Italian Master Prints of the 18th Century: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Jr.," exh. cat., (Montgomery: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1984), 25.