title in center, bottom border; left: A. Canal. f.
At the height of his successful career as the most celebrated view painter in Venice, Canaletto turned to printmaking, publishing a group of thirty-one etchings in 1746 that he dedicated to his principal patron, the British Consul Joseph Smith. Whereas most of the prints consist of imaginary vistas, or capricci, of the city and the mainland, this view of Venice’s main square, the Piazza San Marco, is one of eleven that evoke actual locations—all animated with lively contrasts of light and shadow. Punctuated by market stalls, conversing figures, and scampering dogs, Canaletto’s dramatically angled composition features the administrative buildings of the Procuratie Nuove on the left and the church of San Geminiano (demolished by Napoleon) in the center background.
"Recent acquisitions," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 12, no. 1 (1953): p. 38-39.