View of San Michele Island

Giovanni Antonio Canal

  • View of San Michele Island 2
  • View of San Michele Island 3
Basic information
Giovanni Antonio Canal
View of San Michele Island
Date of creation
18th c.
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
71 x 141.5
Information about author
Giovanni Antonio Canal
Artist's lifetime
Giovanni Antonio Canal, also known as Canaletto, was the most prominent and famous representative of Venice's 18th-century cityscape painting. The artist was born into the family of Bernard Canal in 1697. According to biographers, particularly Antonio Maria Zanetti, the artist's father was a "theatre painter" and built a successful career as a scenographic painter. From 1711 to 1728, he worked on scenery for Venice's most famous and prestigious theatres, Sant' Angelo and San Cassiano. Between 1719 and 1720, Bernardo Canal and his son visited Rome. They were both mentioned as scenographers in the libretto of Alessandro Scarlatti's opera during this period. The nickname Canaletto, "little Canal," was most likely given to the artist in Rome. Among the patrons of the artist in the early period of his career were several Italians. Still, foreigners, especially those from the British Isles, valued his works much more and constantly added them to their collections. Ambassador Joseph Smith was the main client of the artist and an intermediary between him and English art lovers. In 1746, Canaletto left for England, where he stayed until 1756, but he made several short trips to Europe. Giovanni Antonio Canal returned to Venice in 1760, where he spent the rest of his life.
Object description
Giovanni Antonio Canal created "The View of San Michele Island" in the 1720s. The picture was a pendant to "The View of Murano Island". Still, Canaletto's authorship of cityscapes remains debatable. Iryna Linnik, in particular, believed that both compositions were executed in the artist's workshop. At the same time, Viktoriia Markova suggested that the paintings belonged to his early career. The Hermitage in St. Petersburg houses the same pair of views related initially to the period preceding Canaletto's departure to England in 1746. However, in more recent studies, they were attributed to the mid-1720s. There are several skilled reproductions of the works, most of which are referred to the artist's followers. Unfortunately, verifying Canaletto's authorship of the Lviv paintings is difficult. In this case, we can only assume that the canvas dates to the mid-1720s.