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Canaletto, Venice: S. Pietro in Castello

Key facts
Full title Venice: S. Pietro in Castello
Artist Canaletto
Artist dates 1697 - 1768
Date made 1730s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 47.3 × 79.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by John Henderson, 1879
Inventory number NG1059
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Venice: S. Pietro in Castello

People are hard at work on boats beside the small island of San Pietro in Castello, the eastern part of Venice. While the nearby district of San Marco was popular with tourists, as it is today, this quieter corner of the city was largely a working-class neighbourhood. Its residents sailed between Venice and the mainland to trade.

Close to us, fishermen trail their nets. One boat, its sail being lowered by a man on board, is laden with hay and timber. Further to the left, more trading vessels are at anchor, their sails stirred by a gentle breeze. Beyond is the lagoon, with the Dolomite mountains in the hazy distance.

Over an arched wooden bridge, figures walk to and from a small complex of buildings. Until 1807, the church of San Pietro served as the city’s cathedral, while the Basilica di San Marco was the private church of the doge (the Venetian head of state).

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