In 1761, Bernardo Bellotto painted his famous parama of Munich, signing the painting Canaletto as he signed many of his paintingsin tribute to his uncle and teacher Giovanni Antonio Canal. In addition to the famous parama, Bellotto completed over the course of several months two stunning palace views for the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian III Joseph. Placing Bellotto s Munich paintings within the artist s broader body of work, this well-illustrated book highlights the Italian painter and printmaker s capacity to create paintings of European cities that are both remarkably realistic and compositionally idealistic. Depicting Dresden, Vienna, Turin, and Warsaw, the paintings demonstrate an elaborate attention to architectural and natural detail and a sophisticated understanding of the specific quality of light in each place. By juxtaposing the paintings with Bellotto s preparatory sketches, the book also sheds light on his complicated process, which is thought to have included the use of the popular optical aid of that time, the camera obscura. Rounding out the book is a contemporary artistic reevaluation of the paintings through the medium of photography. Bringing together many well-kwn works by the Venetian vedute with a trove of paintings rarely seen, including a series of highly idealized architectural depictions, the book illustrates his critical contribution to this important European tradition.
Andreas Schumacher is a director at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, where he is responsible for the museum s Collection of Italian Painting to the End of the Eighteenth Century. He is also an associate lecturer at the Institute for Art History at the University of Bonn, Germany.