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Title Capriccio: The Lagoon, Venice
Collection Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Bellotto, Bernardo (Italian painter and draftsman, 1721-1780)
Previously attributed to Canaletto (Italian painter, 1697-1768)
Date Earliest about 1741
Date Latest about 1741
Description Bernardo Bellotto was taught by his uncle Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto. About 1741 Bellotto accompanied his uncle on a trip along the Brenta Canal towards Padua. The artists would have set out from Venice, passing through the Venetian Lagoon towards Marghera where the scenery provided the basis for this capriccio and its pendant (K5269). Although Bellotto probably based the composition on his uncle's design, preparatory drawings in his own hand have also been identified. Bellotto's style is distinguished here by the cool, clear light and the calligraphic description of vegetation.
Current Accession Number K5270
Former Accession Number L84/100
Subject landscape (Venice Lagoon); place (Venice); figure
Measurements 37 x 62 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by H. M. Government 1988.
Provenance Possibly Sir John Murray, early-nineteenth century; Admiral Sir Victor Crutchley V. C., Mappercombe Manor, Bridport, -1984; given by the estate of Sir Admiral Victor Crutchley to H. M. Government in lieu of tax, 1987.
Publications Kowalczyk Bozena, A., 'Il Bellotto veneziano: §grande intendimento ricercasi§', Arte Veneta, 1995, pp. 71-89, ill. p. 87, fig. 24.

Old gilt labels held on file indicate this work and its pendant were attributed to Canaletto before they came to the attention of scholars. The pendant is K5269.

Loaned by Sir Admiral Victor Crutchley to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, from 1984.

Gregory Martin attributed the pair to Bellotto. Ralph Toledano agreed with the attribution to Bellotto, 1988.

For related compositions by Bellotto see S. Kozakiewicz Bernardo Bellotto, London, 1972 (K5270 and K5269 were unknown to Kozakiewicz at the time of writing). For related drawings by Bellotto at the British Museum and Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, see A. Kowalczyk Bozena, 'Il Bellotto veneziano: §grande intendimento ricercasi§', Arte Veneta, 1995, p. 87 figs. 22, 23. For comparable compositions by Canaletto and the drawing by Bellotto at Darmstadt, see W. G. Constable Canaletto, Oxford, 1962, cat. 795 (b); and II, p. 550.

K5269 and K5270 were the subject of some press attention in 1988 following their acceptance by H. M. Government under the 'in lieu' scheme.

Commander William Crutchley, son of the previous owner, thought K5269 and K5270 were possibly in the collection of General Sir John Murray, Quartermaster General to Wellington in the Peninsular War.

Rights Owner Bristol's Museums, Galleries & Archives
Author Dr Susan Steer



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