Bernardo Bellotto's biography
Bernardo was born on January 30th 1720 in Italy. His work was concentrated on urban landscape painting. He also did etching and printing incorporating the scenery of Dresden,Vienna,Turin and Warsaw. His uncle Canaletto was his teacher. Bernardo often used on the sly his uncle’s name and signed as Bernardo Canaletto. In Germany Bernardo was called Canaletto, and his paintings were referred to as Canaletto paintings.
Bernardo was already a member of the Venecian Painters’ Guild.
While he was under Canaletto, Bernardo undertook extensive travels to
Italy, covering Rome, Florence, Turin, Milan and Verona. Everywhere he
demonstrated his capacity to depict in his works architectural and natural
features and also the subjects’ individual lighting areas. Some
of his works of repute are
“View with the Villa Melzi d’ Eril”, “View of the Gazzada”, “Arno in Florence”, and “Signoria Square in Florence”.
When he came back to Venice in the summer of 1747, Bernardo was invited
by Augustus III, the Elector of Saxony, and hence he moved to Dresden.Bernardo
painted a series of beautiful scenery of views of the city and its vicinity
during his ten year stay. He repainted these for the Prime Minister Count
Bruehl, who later sold these works to Catherine II the Great At St Petersburg.
In this purchase Catherine could get many of Bernardo’s finest works
depicting topography. Some of the works like”The
Old Market Square in Dresden”, “The
New Market Square in Dresden”, “Pirna
seen from the right bank of the Elbe”,
Were not only apt for the subject but also brought before us the damages caused by the World War II bombing of Dresden.
The reputation of Bernardo spread to the whole Continent. In 1758 the Empress Maria Teresa commissioned Bernardo to do the painting of the Viennese Gothic and Baroque monuments.Bernardo then moved to Munich to work for the Elector of Bavaria in 1761. He spent five years there before returning to Dresden, where he served in the Dresden Academy as a teacher. He moved to Warsaw in 1766. He wanted to move to St Petersburg to work for Catherine II, but on the insistence of King Stanislaus II Augustus Poniatowski he stayed at Warsaw.
The Royal Castle at Warsaw houses his collection of paintings of the city. The poetic quality and flawless accuracy of his themes resulted in his works being incorporated in the draft for rebuilding Warsaw after the devastation of the World War II. Bernardo died in 1780 at Warsaw.
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