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Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)
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Painter and etcher. Received early training in studio of his father Bernardo collaborating on theatrical designs for stage sets. Went to Rome in 1719 where he worked on stage scenery and decoration of libretti. Was influenced by the Dutch painters of classical ruins. Returned to Venice, and is inscribed in the Venetian painter's guild in 1720. Painted views of Venice for sale to tourists. Through the patronage of the Englishman Joseph Smith (merchant, art collector, and later British consul to Venice), Canaletto began to sell paintings to English collectors. Visited London in 1746. He lived in England until 1755. Canaletto's early manner is broad and impressionistic, but he eventually adopted an increasingly lucid and linear style more suited to the demands of his patrons for accurate views of the city. Among contemporaries Canaletto was known for his expert use of the camera obscura in preparing his compositions.