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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Canaletto paintings such as Grand Canal in Venice, Rialto Bridge, Bucintoro on Ascension Day, London Thames and Westminster Bridge in London plus various Canaletto sketches are well respected within the art world and have helped the artist to create an exceptional reputation during his era which has lasted up to the modern day.

Canaletto is best remembered for his work in Venice and London although there were several other key works produced in Dresden too. This website brings you the best from Canaletto's career with images listed below alongside useful information on the artist's life. There are also links alongside each for those who are interested in buying Canaletto prints online with a wide selection available from recommended retailer, You can also buy Canaletto paintings here.

Canaletto paintings consistently feature carefully selected city scenes which concentrate on a combination of the local architecture and the activities of common people going about their daily business. The typically huge scale of canvas used by Canaletto in most of his paintings means incredible detail was included in most, particularly early in his career, and this makes seeing his original paintings, such as those held at the National Gallery in London, absolutely essential for anyone looking to truly understand the talents of this famous Italian painter. The painting seen above is typical of Canaletto and reflects his Venetian upbringing which naturally led to it's architecture appearing in his work. The obvious portraits to include in a Venetian painting would be gondalas and the charming architecture of the city and that is what Canaletto unashamedly chose to do in so many of his works such as Rialto Bridge, Bucintoro on Ascension Day, Molo and Piazzetta San Marco, Grand Canal Venice and Ducal Palace.

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge with Venice is another popular topic for Canaletto and something that he covered in detail from several angles, which was one of the traits of this artist to find a piece of architecture that he loved and to cover it several times from different viewpoints. It was undoutably the artist's work in his native Venice that gave Canaletto his reputation as a skilled cityscape artist and his work in other cities such as London and Dresden only followed later as he sought new inspirations for his work as well as taking advantage of the stability of those cities at that time. Rialto Bridge features the common selection of artist Canaletto within his paintings of a blue, tranquil sky and similarly peaceful river which offers the focus more onto the other parts of the painting. He was clearly more interested in setting the viewer's attention on the beautiful architecture in each of his works plus the loose spread of individuals going about their lives.

Bucintoro on Ascension Day

Bucintoro on Ascension Day is unusual for the painter in that it offers a far greater contrast between the foreground and background than in his other works. Canaletto chose to add as much detail as possible on the nearby boats that are the focus of the painting and preferred to give this painting a different balance by biasing the attention so much towards them. The art from painters like Canaletto have served as the most powerful tourist promotion for the city of Venice that anyone could imagine, boasting classic charm in an accurate depiction of the most beautiful parts of the city. The reputation of the artist has also meant that these advertisements have remained exposed within the media for many centuries since they were first created and there seems no sign of his name waining anytime soon.

Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge is the best remembered scene from Canaletto's time in England where he headed after instabilities in his native Italy which made the UK an ideal place to both continue his career profitably but also take in a new set of architecture and culture to add further variety to his existing paintings. This period helped spread his name across the UK and is probably why you can now see many of his paintings stored at the National Gallery in London.

Molo and Piazzetta San Marco

Molo and Piazzetta San Marco continues Canaletto's common approach of offering surene rivers of Venice with a relaxed scene of boating locals making their way through the city against a backdrop of the city's extraordinary architecture. At the time when Italy was a series of separate provincial entities there was a huge competition between each area to make it's capital and other major cities within the area to be the most artistically and architecurally impressive of the whole region of Italy

London Thames

London Thames features a thoroughly stunning scene across the great river of England with charming detail and an approach highly typical of Canaletto. The painting features an exciting array of classicly styled architecture besides the river, the long traditionally built bridge at the top of the painting, and a busy collection of different vessels making their way up and down the river.

Grand Canal Venice

The Grand Canal in Venice is now known best for it's plethora of water taxis and gondalas that ferry around the many tourists of the city each year. Many artists have flocked to this location over centuries to capture the magic of this area in whatever style of art that they use, as seen in Canaletto's oil on canvas or British artist JMW Turner's watercolours.

Ducal Palace

Ducal Palace is a gothic palace in Venice and often refered to as Doge's Palace. The Doge was the supreme ruler of Venice at the time that Canaletto would have included the building within several of his paintings. The palace itself features an incredibly detailed frontage that looks over the Italian canal and is one of the best known examples of Gothic style which is often overlooked in favour of other historical styles.

Grand Canal Venice

Grand Canal is the best known scene from the career of Canaletto and the painting above is just one of several that the artist produced around this location, with many others experimenting with different angles around the same vicinity of the city. The gondalas offer a classicly Venitian scene and when combined with the artist's own talents it is easy to see why this series outranked all others in his career in terms of popularity and exposure within the media.


Dresden above is an excellent example of the paintings produced by Canaletto during his time living in what is now known as Dresden, the city of Germany. Here he would take advantage of yet another new set of architecture and personalities to add to his extensive portfolio of cityscape oil paintings which always offered exceptional detail and carefully chosen viewpoints of an important part of the city.

List of Famous Canaletto Paintings

The pictures included in this website are just a short selection of the great work produced by this painter and we include a fuller list below of the major contributions made by Canaletto.

  • London Northumberland House
  • Return of the Bucentaurn to the Molo
  • La punta della Dogana
  • Regatta on the Grand Canal
  • Riva degli Schiavoni from the West Side
  • The Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge
  • Rio dei Mendicanti
  • Venice, the Upper Reaches of the Grand
  • Warwick Castle
  • Perspective
  • San Giacomo di Rialto
  • Piazza San Marco - Looking Southeast
  • The Pantheon
  • Alnwick Castle
  • The Piazzetta
  • The Stonemason's Yard
  • Piazza San Marco
  • The Fonteghetto della Farina
  • View of the Entrance to the Arsenal
  • Capriccio Ruins and Classic Buildings
  • Arrival of the French Ambassador in Venice

List of Locations of Canaletto's Art Work

Canaletto was an artist who liked to travel around in order to take in different cityscapes to help add variety and interest to his career. In hindsight, it has also helped his reputation to be spread around Europe rather than just his native Italy. We include a list below of some of the key European cities that Canaletto stayed at and included within his cityscape paintings.

  • Venice, Italy
  • London, England
  • Dresden, Germany
  • Warwick, England
  • Rome, Italy

Canaletto at the National Gallery

Many Canaletto paintings are now on show at the National Gallery in London, UK and this has helped the artist to spread his name into the mainstream art public within Britain. We include some of the paintings from his career that are displayed in the National Gallery below.

  • Eton College
  • National Gallery
  • St Pauls Cathedral
  • Colosseum
  • Canaletto Sketches