Entrance to the Grand Canal: Looking West, c.1738-42 (oil on canvas) (detail) (see 160386&7), Canaletto, (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (1697-1768) / Private Collection / Photo Â© Bonhams, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Library
Italian artist Canaletto (1697 -1768), the 18th century’s most famous view-painter, created grand yet delicate images of legendary Italian buildings. Born Giovanni Antonio Canal, Canaletto originally painted theatrical scenery, but fell in love with landscapes while visiting Rome. An unrivaled architectural artist, Canaletto created dramatically lit, poetic images of Venice, whose authenticity was aided by the camera obscura, an early version of modern cameras. Canaletto’s glorious paintings made him internationally known, and permanently altered the world’s perception of Venice.