Eye Candy for Today: Canaletto drawing

Architectural Capriccio, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)
Architectural Capriccio, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)

Pen and brown ink, with gray wash, over graphite and traces of black chalk, 11 1/4 x 8 1/16 inches (286 x 204 mm)

Wow, I just love drawings like this — simultaneously loose and gestural and pinned to geometrically solid draftsmanship. What a brilliant use of warm brown ink for the lines, giving the open facades a feeling of sunlit warmth, contrasted with the cool gray wash for the shadows — a lesson in warm and cool in the simplified context of a wash drawing instead of a more complex painting.

I also love the lively, sketchy, wavering lines he’s used for the horizontals and verticals, eliminating any suggestion of stiffness.

What a treat to view drawings like this in high resolution.

Original is in the Morgan Library and Museum, and is currently on display as part of the exhibition Tiepolo, Guardi and their World. Click on “Zoom+” and use fullscreen and zoom controls below the image.

See my previous posts on Canaletto, and here.


7 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Canaletto drawing”

  1. On the Morgan site in this case, but others as well, I can zoom etc. and enjoy large sections as you do but I can not save these images at all like a regular jpg. That is, like the 3 selections here.

    I’m hoping there is something simple I don’t know about that you could suggest so I may save a few crops to study myself.

    Thank you.

  2. In some cases, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmusem, there is provision for downloading a high-resolution copy of the image.

    On the Morgan Library site, there is only the large zoom. For my own use, I took three full-screen screen shots and cobbled them together in Photoshop. I then cropped sections from my composited whole image to make the vertical crops shown here.

    If you search the collections at the Met: http://metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections you can find many beautiful drawings (as well as paintings), including some by Canaletto, that you can download in high resolution for future study.

    Also, if you find an image you like on the Google Art Project: http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/project/art-project you can often (though not always) find a whole downloadable high-res version of the image by searching on Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (look for images that have a 1mb or larger file size).

  3. The first thing I noticed when I saw this was a kind of reverse perspective, with the very loose lines in the nearest foreground giving way to very detailed drawing in the architecture.

    I like your taste, it’s actually hard to go through these because I want to stop and spend so much time on each one. :)

Comments are closed.