Artibus et Historiae no. 24 (XII)

1991, ISSN 0391-9064

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GIORGIO MARINI - The River and the Castle: The Roman Journey of Bernardo Bellotto

Assessing Bernardo Bellotto's early career in Italy has always been difficult because of his stylistic dependence in that period on his famous uncle, Canaletto. For a better understanding of Bellotto's Roman sojourn of 1742, this article examines the View of the Tiber and the Castel Sant'Angelo and its pendant, View of the Tiber with the Castel Sant'Angelo and San Giovanni dei Fiorentini (both in the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection, Princeton, N.J.), which are smaller copies by the artist of his pendants now in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. The twe landscapes demonstrate the artist's familiarity with the work of the Dutch-born Gaspar Adriaensz. van Wittel.

The terminus ante quem for the painting with San Giovanni is established through the demolition of a group of buildings depicted on the left in June 1742. Venetian documents regarding Bellotto's marriage and the baptism of his children show that he left for Florence, Lucca, and Rome by January 1742 at the earliest. The use Canaletto made of his nephew's drawings of Rome suggests that the latter returned to Venice by the following autumn.

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