Giovanni Antonio Canal (18 October 1697 – 19 April 1768), commonly known as Canaletto, was an Italian painter from the Republic of Venice, considered an important member of the 18th-century Venetian school.
Painter of city views or vedute, of Venice, Rome, and London, he also painted imaginary views (referred to as capricci), although the demarcation in his works between the real and the imaginary is never quite clearcut. He was further an important printmaker using the etching technique. In the period from 1746 to 1756 he worked in England where he painted many views of London and other sites including Warwick Castle and Alnwick Castle. He was highly successful in England, thanks to the British merchant and connoisseur Joseph “Consul” Smith, whose large collection of Canaletto’s works was sold to King George III in 1762.
Canaletto was destined to be a painter. His father, Bernardo Canal, was a painter, as was Canaletto’s brother and nephew. So Canaletto certainly had the family support, but he combined that with intensive study and hard work to surpass some of the greatest, established artists he studied under.
Canaletto works led to an important offshoot of painting – the making of prints and etchings. These would become a significant contribution to his income over the course of his career.