Canaletto, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Canaletto (1697-1768) is one of the most popular of all Old Master painters.

His views of Venice, Rome and London are adamantly celebrated and admired across the globe, but he was more than a mere recorder of scenery.

In the words of one of his contemporaries, he had the power to paint so that 'the eye is deceived and truly believes it is the real thing it sees'.

J G Links' magisterial study was first published in 1982 and immediately became the standard work on the subject, admired both for its comprehensive, meticulous scholarship and for its combination of lucidity and elegance.

Fully revised, expanded and redesigned in 1994, with 160 beautifully reproduced colour illustrations, Canaletto is now reissued as a paperback, making this classic work accessible to a new and wider audience.

This book embodies the essential introduction to Canaletto's life and work - covering his oeuvre as a whole in great detail and with intense artistic appreciation - while its sophistication and breadth of scope render it an equally rewarding corpus for any connoisseur.


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Canaletto, by J.G. Links follows the Phaidon tradition of delivering a beautiful book, full of detailed colour plates, for a fairly modest price. The pictures alone make the book worth purchasing.Canaletto, a Venetian painter of the early 18th Century, moved from painting stage backdrops to gorgeous perspective views of his native town. If you have ever been to Venice you know that it has an achingly beautiful prospect around every corner. Canaletto reproduced these views artistically, with a keen eye for perspective, architectural detail and atmosphere. His paintings will leave you wanting to book the next flight to Italy. Phaidon does a wonderful job of reproducing his images, in full colour with plenty of detail plates. Canaletto's later work in London and his capriccios and ink drawings are also included. From a visual perspective this book is stunning.It is, however, a little lacking when it comes to the text. It would seem that we only really know anything about Canaletto through his contacts with a couple of British middlemen , McSwiney and Smith, who engaged him to paint views of Venice for rich Englishman who had toured Venice. We are treated to numerous details about provenances and the lives of the British agents but precious little about Canaletto himself. His style is discussed largely in terms of technique - his use of perspective and the slight deviations he made from the real scenes. But a more in depth analysis of motivation and aesthetics never materializes. A final quibble would be the lack of a good map of Venice. A plan of Venice from 1729 is included, with labels in Italian but is mostly inadequate. The author assumes the reader is familiar with Venetian topology and rarely clarifies details of place.The book is richly deserving of five stars for its images alone. The text is adequate but not particularly inspired. A brief chronology, list of sources and list of plates, together with a short index make up the somewhat abbreviated scholarly apparatus. If you are looking for a detailed life of Canaletto and a deep analysis of his paintings this book is probably not for you but if you want to simply wallow in the sheer beauty of Venice, it is a definite must.

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