Description of the picture:
Colosseum – Antonio Canal (Canaletto). 1745. Oil on canvas
The Venetian master of landscape painting, the founder of such a genre as Veduta (an image of urban views), Canaletto in most cases painted his own city. All the more valuable are the views of other places and their monuments, including Rome, that sometimes appeared in his work.
In this painting, with painstakingness that met the requirements of the Enlightenment, the painter captured Coliseum – Ancient Roman amphitheater, built in the 1st century, in the era of Flavius. A huge dilapidated building occupies a huge part of the work, being the main character in it.
This Veduta is an ordinary classic landscape in which the grandeur of old architecture is extolled. With his paintings, Canaletto is proud of the deeds of human hands. Such an optimal approach to painting was characteristic of the XVIII century, when the main thing was put the mind. The Italian art historian Giulio Carlo Argan wrote that on the canvases of this artist “space seen by the eyes of reason.” But in this canvas there are so rare features of romanticism that the master has, it was not without reason that the work was created at a time when many painters perceived the ancient ruins as something alive, which can be seen, for example, in the etchings of contemporary and countryman Canaletto Giovanni-Battista Piranesi.
A look at the history of ancient centuries as something very close was also in the spirit of the complex era of Enlightenment. In the Coliseum pictured here time left its own mysterious imprint, and everything around, even the air, was nourished by this secret."