Capriccio with a River and Bridge, Bernard Bellotto
Oil on canvas, roughly 19 x 29 inches (48 x 73 cm); in the collection of the Museo National Thyssen-Bornemisza. Click on the links to zoom or download the image on the museum’s site.
Bernardo Bellotto was Canaletto’s nephew, as well as his premiere student. This image is a capriccio — an idealized architectural landscape either created of scenes from different locations made into a whole, or just invented, or a combination of both.
In this work from early in his career, Bellotto’s approach is close to that of his mentor, right down to the signature style of representing water with little linear wave forms. The painting is forceful in its underlying geometric solidity, and rich with textural details and areas of deliberate imperfection in the stonework to indicate weathering and age.
I love the little wooden balcony to the right of the structure in front of the tower, with the potted plants on its ledge.