Eye Candy for Today: Canaletto’s drawing of the Porta Portello

The Porta Portello with the Brenta Canal in Padua, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), drawing in pen and brown ink with brown and gray washes
The Porta Portello with the Brenta Canal in Padua, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)

On Google Art Project, high-res downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Albertina, Vienna.

In pen and brown ink with brown and gray washes. Unfortunately, neither the museum or Google Art Project give the dimensions. To me it has the look of a fairly large drawing; I might hazard a guess at perhaps 24 inches across (60cm), but that’s only a guess.

It’s worth either zooming the Google Art version or downloading the Wikimedia version to see the image details in larger views. The crops I can provide here don’t do the drawing justice.

I just love Canaletto’s ink and wash drawings, perhaps second only to Rembrandt’s, which is saying something. Not that they’re particularly similar, just that they just have such wonderful qualities that I could stare at them for extended periods, slack-jawed with admiration.

Canaletto manages to be simultaneously sharp and precise in his draftsmanship but loose and sketch-like in his rendering — a combination that just tickles my brain and makes it giggle like a happy baby. I think it has much to do with his delineation of straights with that beautifully wavy, broken line of his.

 
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