Bernardo Canal (Venice 1673-1744), The Piazzetta, looking South. Oil on canvas, 55.8 x 74.3 cm. Charles Beddington Ltd at TEFAF 2016 © TEFAF Maastricht, 2015
Bernardo Canal has always been known as the father of Canaletto, and after that as the eldest member of a studio which for several years included his grandsons Bernardo Bellotto and Pietro Bellotti. A comparison with his celebrated descendants has inevitably been to Canal’s detriment, while his frequent employment of his son’s compositions has less fairly resulted in him often being seen as a peripheral figure of little originality. He has never received enough credit for having provided, as far as we know, his famous son’s only education in the art of painting. He was already a painter before his son was born in 1697, and was a member of the first generation of Venetian view painters. Although we now know that he was born on 27 September 1673 rather than in 1664 as was generally believed until very recently, he was still only a decade younger than Luca Carlevarijs (born in 1663) and less of Johan Richter (born in 1665), the artist whose style his most resembles (It may also be noted that unlike either of those Bernardo was a native Venetian). No attempt has been made, however, to date any of his work as a view painter earlier than his son’s first works in the genre. Between 1716 and 1718 Canal worked as a scenographer for the Venetian theatres of San Cassiano and Sant’Angelo, with assistance from his sons Antonio (Canaletto) and Cristoforo, for the staging of works by Pollarolo, Chelleri and Vivaldi. This aspect of his activity also took him to Rome in 1719-20, with the young Canaletto, in order to produce sets for Alessandro Scarlatti’s Turno Aricino and Tito Sempronio Gracco performed at the Teatro Capranica during Carnival in 1720. It was there that Canaletto is famously – and convincingly – said to have first been inspired to draw his surroundings and to give up working for the theatre. Relatively little is known of Bernardo’s career. He was inscribed in the Venetian painters’ guild in 1717, 1738 and 1743, and was nominated Prior of the Venetian Collegio dei Pittori in 1739, which would seem to indicate a degree of respect from his peers. All attributions to Canal are based on a group of five Venetian views, once in the Salom Collection in Venice, which follow engravings by Bernard Vogel after Johan Richter, and which are all recorded as signed and dated on the reverse ‘Bernardo Canal Fecit 1734’. Those were until recently the artist’s only securely datable works. A pair of Venetian views said to be signed and dated ‘gennaio 1737’ (presumably on the reverse) appeared on the London market in 2014 (London, Lampronti Gallery, The Splendours of Venice: View Paintings from the Eighteeenth Century, 1-24 December 2014, pp. 22-3, nos. 8 a & b, both illustrated in colour). The attribution of two large views of Rome in the Szépmüvészeti Mùzeum, Budapest, is still contested between Bernardo and his son (C. Beddington in the catalogue of the exhibition Canaletto prima maniera, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 18 March – 10 June 2001, pp. 78-81, nos. 28-9, as Canaletto; D. Succi ‘Bernardo Canal y el Canaletto de la “prima maniera”’ in the catalogue of the exhibition Canaletto: Una Venecia Imaginaria, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 29 May – 2 September 2001, pp. 58-60, figs. 7-8, as Bernardo Canal; D. Succi, ‘Bernardo Canal: scenografo y vedutista’ in the catalogue of the exhibition Da Canaletto a Zuccarelli: il paesaggio veneto del Settecento, Villa Manin, Passariano (Udine), 8 August – 16 November 2003, pp. 170-2, figs. 144-5, as Bernardo Canal; B.A. Kowalczyk, catalogue of the exhibition Canaletto: Rome, Londres, Venise: Le triomphe de la lumière, Centre de l’Art de l’Hôtel de Caumont, Aix-en-Provence, 6 May – 13 September 2015, pp. 56-7, no. 2, as Bernardo Canal; see also D. Dotti, ‘Bernardo Canal’ in the catalogue of the exhibition Canaletto: Venezia e i suoi Splendori, Casa dei Carraresi, Treviso, 23 October 2008 – 5 April 2009, p. 180). Bernardo’s style and palette, dominated by browns, are highly distinctive and usually easy to recognise, and he may now be seen as the author of a not inconsiderable body of work, although there are significant variations of quality and of manner. Some of the finest are subtly coloured and highly translucent, such as the panoramic view of the Bacino di San Marco sold from the estate of Giancarlo Baroni at Sotheby’s, New York, 29 January 2013, lot 28, while many are dominated by the russet colour of the ground, such as the pair sold at the same auction house on 22 January 2004, lot 182 (as ‘The Master of the Langmatt Foundation Views’) and subsequently by Porro & C., Milan, 21 October 2009, lot 34.
Provenance: Jean de Sellon, Seigneur d’Allaman and Count of the Holy Roman Empire (1736-1810), of Geneva and Allaman; his son Jean-Jacques de Sellon, Comte Sellon (Geneva 1782-1839 Belfort) his printed crest, with the inscription ‘No. 18’, attached to the stretcher
Antonio Joli (Modena circa 1700-1777 Naples), Paestum. Oil on canvas, 75.5 x 101 cm. In an English carved giltwood frame, presumably the original. Signed, inscribed and dated on the back of the original canvas ‘Veta delli tre Tempi che susitano nella destruta Città di Pesto. Anto. Jolli 1759 Napoli’, Naples, 1759. Charles Beddington Ltd at TEFAF 2016. © TEFAF Maastricht, 2015
The subject of this work is the ruined Greek temple complex at Paestum, located one hundred miles south of Naples in Campania. The city was founded in 600 BC as a Greek colony called Poseidonia, and it was subsequently sacked first by the Lucanians and then by the Romans. Paestum was famed for its Doric temples, and became a site of renewed interest in the mid-18th century after its ruins were discovered in 1746 by the architect Mario Gioffredi, shortly after nearby discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The earliest visual records of the site were measured drawings made for Count Felice Gazola, Commander of the Neapolitan Artillery (engraved in Paris, 1752); and those by the French architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot (published in Gabriel-Pierre-Martin Dumont’s Suitte de plans…de trois temples antique…de Poseto, 1764). Antonio Joli painted the view on a number of occasions and Charles Beddington (op. cit.) regards the present work and a view of Paestum, the interior of the Temple of Neptune (Palazzo Reale, Caserta, inv. no. 386) as among the earliest known views of Paestum. The present work shows the temples of Neptune in the foreground and in the distance the Temple of Ceres and Monti di Cilento. Joli’s peripatetic career brought him under the influence of a variety of local traditions and different masters before he settled in Naples around 1755, where he benefited from the flourishing market for vedute created by an international clientele of noblemen and Grand Tourists. He worked as a stage painter as well as a landscapist, and his manner, influenced by the work of Canaletto and Bellotto in Venice, typically combines topographical fidelity with a dramatic viewpoint. Joli also took up a position as court painter to Charles VII, King of Naples, later Charles III of Spain. Joli achieved significant commercial success with his scenes of the city and its surroundings, and he was the first to paint a “bird’s eye” view of Paestum in 1758, the year before he executed our painting (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena). The rediscovery of Paestum contributed to the flourishing of a Grand Tourist economy in Naples, which became an essential destination. Travellers such as Joseph Forsyth (1763-1815), who described his Grand Tour in Remarks on Antiquities, Arts, and letters during an Excursion in Italy in the years 1802 and 1803 (London, 1813) extended his tour to include Paestum. Forsyth recalled: “These wonderful objects, though surveyed in the midst of rain, amply compensated our little misadventures… I do not hesitate to call these the most impressive monuments that I ever beheld on earth” (op. cit., p. 343). And Shelley described the effect of “the jagged outline of mountains [seen] through groupes [sic] of enormous columns on one side, and the other the level horizon the sea” as “inconceivably grand”, a phrase echoed by Sir Walter Scott when he visited these “sybarite [sic]” temples in March of 1832 (quoted in Letters of…Shelley, II, p. 79; and The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, ed. W.E.K. Anderson, Oxford, 1972, pp. 690-713).
Provenance: James Hugh Smith Barry (1746-1801), Marbury Hall, Cheshire, and by inheritance in the Smith Barry family until 1932, when the house was sold (19th or early 20th century inscription ‘Mr Smith-Barry on a label on the back of the frame); Anonymous sale [‘The Property of a Lady’], Sotheby’s, London, 14 December 1977, lot 109; With Colnaghi, London (Pictures from the Grand Tour, 14 Nov.-16 Dec. 1978, no. 33, ill.; Private collection, Europe
Literature: A Catalogue of Paintings, Statues, Busts, &c. at Marbury Hall, The Seat of John Smith Barry, Esq. In the County of Chester, Warrington, 1819, p. 2, no. 33 ‘Ruins – Anto. Jolli.’; N. Spinosa, Civiltà del Settecento a Napoli, Naples, 1979, p. 288; G. Briganti, 'Paestum ed il vedutismo settecentesco' in exh. cat. La fortuna di Paestum e la memoria moderna del dorico, Florence, 1986, p. 58, no. 1b; N. Spinosa, Pittura napoletana del Settecento: dal Rococò al Classicismo, Naples, 1987, p. 157, no. 280, fig. 379; N. Spinosa and L. di Mauro, Vedute napoletane del Settecento, Naples, 1989, pp. 182 and 192, fig. 70; M. Utili (ed.), All’ombra del Vesuvio. Napoli nella veduta europea dal Quattrocento all’Ottocento, Naples, Castel Sant’Elmo, 1990, pp. 125 and 400; L. Salerno, I pittori di vedute in Italia (1580-1830), Rome, 1991, p. 256; R. Middione, Antonio Joli, Soncino, 1995 pp. 31, 92, fig. 19; M. Manzelli, Antonio Joli: Opera pittorica, Venice, 1999, p. 118, W.5, fig 97; C. Beddington, 'Antonio Joli. Opera pittorica by Mario Manzelli' in The Burlington Magazine, CXLII, 1171, October 2000, p. 640; R. Toledano, Antonio Joli, Turin, 2006, p. 396, N.XL ill.p. 84, pl. X
Charles Beddington Ltd (stand 378). Directors: C.B.F. Beddington, Leopold Deliss
from a broad range of periods and schools, with a leaning towards the 18th Century, and a particular speciality in Venetian view painting.
Charles Beddington was at Christie's 1983 - 1998, ultimately as head of the London Old Master Picture Department. He remained a consultant for Christie's until May 2000. In 1998 he started Charles Beddington Ltd, which has been based at 16 Savile Row since 2001 (initially as Beddington & Blackman Ltd).
Charles Beddington is well respected for his role as the pre-eminent scholar of Venetian view painting, and Canaletto in particular. He frequently contributes articles and reviews to The Burlington Magazine, as well as exhibition catalogues, and reference books. Subjects include Neapolitan and Venetian view painting.
Beddington has curated and written the catalogue for two major exhibitions: Canaletto in England: A Venetian Artist abroad 1746-1755, Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven 19 October - 31 December 2006, and Dulwich Picture Gallery, 24 January - 15 April 2007, and, Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals, National Gallery of Art, London 13 October 2010 - 16 January 2011, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 20 February - 30 May 2011. He also wrote the catalogue of the exhibition Luca Carlevarijs: Views of Venice, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, April - August 2001.
Our academic background is a strong influence on the gallery's activities, and we pride ourselves that the majority of the paintings we offer are either rediscoveries or at least fresh to the market.