Halasz finds much to appreciate in "the vedutisti, or view painters. They depicted the streets, canals and buildings of the city, largely (though hardly exclusively) for visitors—not least those aristocratic young Englishmen making the Grand Tour of Europe with their tutors to complete their classical educations. Although the genre of the vedute seems to have originated in Northern Europe, the Venetians made it their own, with its two outstanding practitioners, Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) and Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto (1697-1768). My preference as a rule is for Canaletto, with his serenity and his almost Augustan dignity; Guardi is the more loquacious, employing a lighter, more feathery touch."
Rachel Spence reviews an exhibition of paintings by Francesco Guardi at Museo Correr, Venice, on view through January 6, 2012.
Spence writes: "Both [Canaletto and Guardi] employed a camera obscura to obtain the topographical precision which was the signature of Venetian view-painting. But Canaletto used the projections – frequently embellished with fantasy in the style of a latter-day digital snapper – to create a city of crisp, crystalline drama: imperious, monumental and spectacular. Guardi, on the other hand, softened Venice’s architectural contours and seduced tonal extravaganzas out of its seas and skies. His Serenissima is moody, ephemeral and exotic, as much oriental fishing village as Old World cultural jewel. Only Turner better embodied Byron’s description of a city where 'structures rise, as from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand'."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.