This view is of the Piazzetta, an area between the Piazza San Marco and the waterfront (known as the Molo). Elegantly dressed Venetians and foreign visitors – like the trio at the bottom right – mill around the square, while government officials in black robes emerge from the Doge’s Palace.
Beyond, we see the basilica of San Marco, its slender campanile (bell tower) to the left. The white building on the left is the library; people gather along the colonnade below. The lines of white stone laid across the square mark out the position of temporary market stalls, like those covered with parasols in the distance.
This copy was probably made by one of Canaletto’s pupils and is based on a drawing from which he prepared his own pictures. A sketch of a similar view is in the Royal Collection at Windsor. Canaletto painted this composition several times; examples are now at Woburn Abbey and the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.
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