Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: wash drawing by a follower of Canaletto

Capriccio of a Venetian Courtyard, Follower of Canaletto

On Google Art Project. Downloadable high-resolution version on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the Yale Center for British Art.

This is a capriccio, or invented architectural scene, yet the details of daily life feel unerringly true, as does the play of sunlight against those few elements not in shadow.

Even though attributed to a “Follower of Canaletto”, and not the master himself, this kind of drawing just knocks me out. It’s simultaneously so loose and casual on one hand; and so precise and exacting on the other, that I just stare at it in amazement. (Of course, actual drawings by Canaletto elicit the same response, only more so.)

Ink and wash drawings like this, despite dealing with value in a way analogous to paintings, have a character of line that give them a unique visual appeal, unattainable in other media.