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Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Shows The Canaletto View

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden presents Bernardo Bellotto: The Canaletto View. The Restored Masterpiece. A Cabinet Exhibtion by the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, 26 August to 20 November, 2011.

Bernardo Bellotto: The Canaletto View
No other painting has shaped our “image” of Dresden until the present more than the veduta, which measures 1.33 x 2.37 m and which was created by the Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto (1722-1780), called Canaletto. Today, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are proud to have returned the painting Dresden from the Right Bank of the Elbe with the Augustus Bridge to the public after a eighteen months fundamental restoration.

“Although visitors had been able to see Canaletto’s masterpieces in exhibitions in the past, but the importance of their restorations becomes, surprisingly, even more evident in this exhibition. Moreover, the rooms behind the Armoury, which are used for this special exhibition, allow a completely new perception, because the visitor can now see the paintings and their narrative staffage up close. We are very glad to once again present one of our masterpieces in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister to visitors from all over the world. Foremost, I would like thank the people of Dresden who supported this endeavour with great enthusiasm,” said Prof. Dr. Bernhard Maaz, director of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Kuperstich-Kabinett.

Bernardo Bellotto created the painting in 1748. It was his second work in the capital. After he arrived in Dresden in 1747 on the invitation of August III, he was appointed court artist in 1748 by the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.

The view, which became famous as the so-called Canaletto View, depicts all buildings of the opposite river bank, seen from the “Neue Königsstadt” (New King’s Town) near the Japanese Palace. Several buildings, which can even be seen today, dominate the prominent city skyline: the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) was built by George Bähr between 1726-1743 and the Katholische Hofkirche (Catholic Court Church) was begun and planed by the architect Gaetano Chiaveri. In the time of the first version of the painting, the bell tower had not been erected yet and Bellotto had to consult draft drawings for his painting. On the right side behind the main nave of the church, you can see the Hausmannsturm (Hausmann Tower), which is connected to the west wing of the Royal Palace. On the left side of the Hofkirche, the Georgenbau of the palace becomes visible, above which the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Cross) rises in the background. Next to the adjacent house, the Palace of the Duke Brühl follows on the Terrace Brühl. The high round arched windows belong to the “Canaletto Hall”, in which the prime minister collected the copies of the Bellotto paintings. The Augustus Bridge – some call it even “Saxon Ponte di Rialto” – was renewed by Matthäus Pöppelmann and spans the Elbe on a width of 400 meters, covering the fortifications in the painting, on which the terrace Brühl was built. It leads to the “Neue Königsstadt”, on whose shore Bellotto immersed the lively scene of landing ships and a family in a soft diffuse light.

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