Bernardo Bellotto
Bernardo Francesco Paulo Ernesto Bellotto (1721 – 1780) was an Italian painter, master of the urban landscape, the apprentice and nephew of Canaletto. The most famous works of Bernardo Bellotto are realistic views of Central European cities, mostly Dresden, Vienna and Warsaw. He borrowed his uncle’s name – Canaletto.
He was the master of veduta – a highly detailed architectural vista; He painted with silver colors and somewhat dry in terms of drawing views of Venice, Dresden, Warsaw, and other cities: “View of Turin” (about 1745), “Dresden From the Right Bank of the Elbe Above the Augustus Bridge” (1748), “The Fortress of Königstein” (1764), “View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi” (about 1770), “View of Warsaw” (1779).
Bellotto also created paintings on historical themes: “Coronation of Stanislaw August”, “Entry of Jerzy Ossolinski into Rome in 1633”. His paintings can be found in the Royal castle and the National Museum.
Between 1747 and the first months of 1753, Bellotto painted fourteen large panoramic views of Dresden, and between 1753 and 1756 – eleven views of the suburbs of Pirna. These twenty-five paintings are among the most remarkable works of the artist. In these paintings Bellotto developed a completely original style, which could never be confused with his uncle’s. Bellotto painted the views of Dresden For August III, then made engravings after these paintings, and later (starting in 1753) painted the views of small Saxon town of Pirna located near Dresden on the Elbe, with the XIII century Sonnenstein Castle. He duplicated all the paintings of the Royal series (Dresden Art gallery) for his patron Bruhl; after Bruhl’s death they were purchased for the Hermitage. A series of 15 paintings was purchased by Catherine II in 1768. Today, 10 paintings are presented in the State Hermitage collection.
In 1766, Bellotto left Dresden with the intention to go to St. Petersburg and work for the Empress of Russia Catherine II. By the end of January 1767, he arrived in Warsaw and was immediately offered a job at the court of the king of Poland Stanislaw II August Poniatowski. In 1768 he was appointed court painter and spent the last fourteen years of his life working for the king in comparative comfort and safety.
Bellotto traveled a lot. He was in Dresden. He worked in Vienna, in Munich, he lived in Warsaw and worked for Stanislaw Poniatowski. (It is interesting to note that the historical centre of Warsaw, 90% destroyed during the Second World War, was restored according to his vedute). The artist captured numerous views of European cities. This way he spread the genre of veduta over the whole Europe.
The artist died in Warsaw on 17 November 1780 at the age of 58.
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