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"Canaletto's landscapes are arguably, even today, the most familiar artistic products of eighteenth-century Venice For those with the requisite means, no visit to the city would be considered complete without the purchase of at least one of the artist's views, which captured the city's topography and urban activity with apparent verisimilitude. ... View painting, not a favored genre during the preceding several centuries, gained considerable popularity in the 1700s. Its ascendency corresponded directly to increased foreign travel and in particular to the aristocratic Englishmen who, having embarked on the Grand Tour - an itinerary which necessarily included Venice - sought mementos of their travels. ... However, for all Canaletto's popularity and his ability to capture the fabric of Venice at its most appealing and evocative, his work is curiously devoid of the rich coloring, sensuality, and exuberance of most Venetian art of the period. To help elucidate the complicated forces that shaped Canaletto and the city of Venice during his age, this catalogue offers a range of essays."--preface.