This view of the Piazza San Marco, Venice shows Bellotto’s devotion to faithful observation. At the left is the church of St. Mark with the Doge’s Palace just beyond, leading to the lagoon. Vertically dividing the canvas is the campanile (bell tower) with the Procuratie Nuove (a government building) extending to the right. At the extreme right, opposite St. Mark’s, is the façade of the church of San Geminiano which was removed in the 19th century by Napoleon. The two wings of the Procuratie were then joined across the west end of the piazza. Bernardo Bellotto was the nephew and student of Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697–1768) who ran one of the most productive painting workshops in Italy. Like his uncle, Bellotto specialized in vedute (views) of Italy, especially Venice, which were purchased avidly by British aristocrats traveling on the Grand Tour. Bellotto later worked for the courts of Dresden, Vienna, Warsaw, and Munich, painting topographical and imaginary views of those cities.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).