Description

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 square in front of Lucca Cathedral from the north-east, with chaise pulled by two horses, figures in Piazza Antelminelli, and part of the north side of the Duomo in the foreground and campanile of the Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Reparata seen above rooftops beyond the walls of Palazzo Micheletti 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.

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