Ricevimento dell’Ambasciatore francese a Venezia (1726-1727)

Canaletto (1697-1768)

Ricevimento dell’Ambasciatore francese a Venezia (Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice)
Oil on canvas, 181 x 259.5 cm
Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

In the 18th century the Venetian school of painting flourished brightly, but for the last time, and gave the world several virtuoso artists. One of them was Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. He was a superb master of the veduta genre, the accurate urban landscape. This large canvas, The Reception of the French Ambassador in Venice, recorded a real-life event – the arrival of the French envoy, Count Languet de Gergy, who was met on the embankment next to the Palace of the Doges by officials of the republic accompanied by guards. With documentary precision the artist recorded all the details of this colourful occasion, beginning with the luxurious boats decorated with gilded carving in which the ambassador and his retinue arrived. Such spectacles were an inseparable part of life for the Queen of the Adriatic and were never short of spectators. There are plenty of those in the painting, watching from the gallery of the palace, the bridge and gondolas. Among them are Venetian nobles whose dress often included a mask, merchants from the Orient, monks and common people. Ruling over this motley crowd is Venice which is not a setting, but the main protagonist in the work. Look at the passion with which the artist presents the beauty of its architecture, the uniqueness of its damp atmosphere and the play of shadows on its walls. Fascinated by his native city, Canaletto devoted his entire oeuvre to it and it seems there is not a single corner of Venice that he did not capture with his brush. (SHM)

See also:

Venezia (Italia)