Joseph Mallord William Turner - Venice, The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore , a photo by Gandalf's Gallery on Flickr.
At the “especial suggestion” of a British textile manufacturer, Turner devised this Venetian cityscape as a symbolic salute to commerce. Gondolas carry cargoes of fine fabrics and exotic spices. On the right is the Dogana, or Customs House, topped by a statue of Fortune, which Turner greatly enlarged in size. Moreover, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore has been pushed very far back in space, making the Grand Canal seem much wider than it really is.
These theatrical exaggerations and the precise, linear drafting of the architecture owe much to Canaletto, an eighteenth-century Venetian painter whose art glorified his city. At the 1834 Royal Academy show, critics gave enraptured praise to the scene’s radiant, sparkling waters. The next year, another commission from the same patron resulted in its moonlit companion piece, Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight.
[Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 122 cm]