This is one of five views of Lucca formerly believed to be by Canaletto (1697–1768), but attributed to his nephew Bellotto in 1953 by F. J. B. Watson, who referred, however, to their ‘incontestable’ ‘Canalettesque character’. It shows the Duomo from the east, with a man on a cart and other figures in the archiepiscopal palace's courtyard enclosed by the cloisters at left and a group of two-storey houses at right in the foreground, walled garden beyond, and apse of the cathedral flanked by the Capella del Sacramento at left and the Capella della Libertà at right in the background.
The 1829 catalogue of the King’s Topographical Collection referred to the five views as ‘taken with the Camera Obscura’, possibly because of their early association with Canaletto, reported to have used this optical device. Images drawn with the camera obscura often show a distortion of the outlines to create an exact perspective that does not necessarily correspond to what we normally see.
- Full title:
- [Lucca Cathedral from the Palazzo dell'Arcivescovado].
- between 1742 and 1745
- Drawing / Pen and Ink over Pencil
- Bernardo Bellotto
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Maps K.Top.80.21.c.
- Article by:
- Michael Collins
- Science and nature, Country
With reference to collection items in the British Library and beyond, photographer Michael Collins shows how the portable camera obscura was used as a drawing aid by landscape artists of the late 17th and 18th centuries.