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Bernardo Bellotto was the nephew and pupil of Antonio Canale and both were great painters of the Venetian scene. Both were also known under the name of Canaletto. Bellotto served at the courts of Munich, Dresden and Warsaw. During the war between Prussia and Austria, he escaped Dresden from 1759-60 and went to the Vienna court. There he painted Viennese views and castles belonging to the Empress Maria Theresa; these paintings are still in the possession of the Vienna Gallery.
Bellotto had a fine feeling for rhythm, evident in the well-chosen angles of his views and the assymetrical manner in which he placed figures. The accuracy in his perspective leads us to believe he used a camera obscura.
After wandering to Dresden, Vienna and Munich, Bellotto settled in Warsaw in 1767. He spent the next decade recording 26 views of the city for the King. It was to Bellotto's crystalline and chilling immobile visions of Warsaw's palaces, churches and streets, crowded with Poles of every class, that the city's post World War II reconstructionists turned for aid in rebuilding dozens of bombed-out structures.
Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
Metropolitan Miniatures; Paintings from the Hapsburg Collection.
Time Magazine, September 29, 1967