Object Image

A Regatta on the Grand Canal

We have a magnificent view of the Grand Canal in Venice during the annual regatta, which was held on 2 February and attracted large numbers of visitors each year. All eyes are on the one-oared gondolas racing up the middle of the canal. Just right of centre two craft swing around the bend, tilted and almost touching, trying to catch up with the leaders. Another boat follows on the far right. Spectators cheer from windows and balconies, from gondolas and lavishly decorated bissone (eight- or ten-oared boats).

Canaletto has captured the drama of the event, with spectators and architecture laid out at a steep angle that recedes sharply into the distance and focuses our eye on the race. The animat...

c. 1740
Oil on canvas
122.1 x 182.8cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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