Giovanni Antonio Canaletto was born in Venice in 1697. He was a pupil of his father, Bernardo Canale, who was a scene painter for theatres and of Luca Carlevaris of Udine. He went to Rome and studied perspective, making drawings of ruins and of landscape. Returning to his native city, he devoted his life to recording every aspect of its architectural and natural beauty, which he did in painting and etching, producing masterpieces in both branches of art. Many Londoners visiting in Venice returned with Canaletto's etchings and oil paintings, called 'vedute', facile, panoramic views of the city that predated the picture postcard.
Canaletto became more prolific as a draughtsman,
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