Title: [Portico with Lantern]
Etching on laid paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 14 1/2 x 19 7/8 inches (36.8 x 50.5 cm)
Plate: 11 7/8 × 17 1/8 inches (30.2 × 43.5 cm)
Bequest of William P. Chapman, Jr., Class of 1895
In much the same way as in his "Fantastic View of Venice," Canaletto’s "Portico with Lantern," part of the same set of thirty-four etched views of Venice and the surrounding countryside Canaletto published after 1744, adds some jarring and foreign aspects to a scene otherwise consistent with Venetian architecture. The loggia on the building at far right, with its half-columns, is a distinctly classicizing architectural statement. More blatant still is the inclusion of a Roman triumphal arch interpreted from the Arch of Constantine or the Arch of Septimius Severus, with which Canaletto was familiar from his time in Rome as a young man. The figures, which add not only scale but an air of mystery with their vaguely military dress, are reminiscent of the arcane figures Canaletto’s fellow Venetian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo incorporated in his 1743 Capricci. (Andrew C. Weislogel, "Mirror of the City: The Printed View in Italy and Beyond, 1450–1940," catalogue accompanying an exhibition organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, curated by Andrew C. Weislogel and Stuart M. Blumin, and presented at the Johnson Museum August 11–December 23, 2012)
This image is one of from set of thirty-four etched views of Venice and the surrounding countryside that Canaletto published after 1744. Not surprisingly, Whistler was a great admirer of Canaletto long before he set foot in Venice himself. One of the things that probably drew him to the Italian’s work was the finely detailed and atmospheric etchings he produced, while not adhering to the strictly touristy scenes that clients would be familiar with. In fact, Canaletto often added architectural elements found in other cities such as Rome, thus turning the known Venice into a fantastical place of his imagination. (“The Touch of the Butterfly: Whistler and His Influence," curated by Nancy E. Green and presented at the Johnson Museum August 4-December 16, 2018)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.