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The Lock at Dolo

Canaletto’s great fame arose from his topographic views, particularly those of Venice. These scenes typically focus on one aspect of a city, such as a canal and its palaces. In this etching he has traveled outside of Venice, offering an intimate portrayal of the village of Dolo and the closed gates of its canal lock on the river Brenta. One of Canaletto’s first etchings, this print illustrates the artist’s quick mastery of the medium. The diagonal shadow across the canal lock, the marvelous control of tones, and the contrast of the humbler side of life with the patrician make this image one of Canaletto’s finest etchings.

In the first half of the 1740s there was as a general revival of interest in etching in Venice, and at this time Canaletto began producing his own series of thirty-four etchings. The prints were dedicated to Consul Smith, an important British patron living in Venice, and it is likely that English tourists, Canaletto’s greatest customers, were the market for which these prints were created.

Canaletto
Venetian, 1697–1768
The Lock at Dolo from Views (Vedute)
ca. 1740–44
Etching on paper
Image: 11 ½ x 16 7/8 in. (29.2 x 42.9 cm); sheet: 14 ½ x 20 3/8 in. (36.8 x 51.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 71.46.9