Art Inspired by Venice Missing Canaletto

Small confession. We just finished watching The Young Pope with Jude Law last night. No spoilers we promise. Our only point to opening Artwork Monday with this disclosure, is to share one of our favorite things about this HBO series.

Every other episode ends with an inside the episode clip with Director, Paolo Sorrentino. Brilliantly done, these quick glimpses reveal hidden narrative, symbolism and ultimately storytellers intent.

Questions are answered.

Peering into an artist’s mind is simultaneously enticing and revealing. An attractive contradiction.

Artwork Monday

We’re staying in Venice this Artwork Monday to take a closer look at Missing Canaletto by Paolo Ferraris. Part of his “Venice, a Liquid Adventure” series.

With last nights inside the episode from The Young Pope in mind, I decided to dig a little deeper inside the artist’s mind.

Why had Paolo, chosen to name his artwork depicting Piazza San Marco in Venice, Missing Canaletto?  Was there hidden meaning in the name, in the work itself?

Let’s go behind the art with Paolo Ferraris now to see.

Venice Inspired Art

Turns out, the explanation behind the name was right in front of me, all this time.

Paolo named Missing Canaletto with Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697- 1768) in mind. An Italian painter better known as Canaletto. Canaletto famously painted city scenes from Venice,  in the vedute style.

So there is some bit of irony in the name itself. Why?

Piazza San Marco with the Basilica by Canaletto,_1730. (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge)

As a photographer, rather than representing reality in accurate detail, Paolo Ferraris pushes reality. Embracing the emotional details of movement and color in a style much more akin to impressionism.

Missing Canaletto by Paolo Ferraris Colors
Missing Canaletto by Paolo Ferraris

Perhaps not so ironically, both Canaletto and Paolo Ferraris capture the emotive qualities of Venice. Both, set a theatrical scene. Both pay tribute to the legendary decadence of Venice. The exotic cross roads of trade.

“When she lost her place among the powerful, Venice didn’t sulk and cry. She stopped taking herself too seriously and started enjoying life. Venice’s palaces, carnival, food, drinks and lingo are an ode to the merry moments of existence.” — Paolo Ferraris, Artist

Desdemona & Emilia by Paolo Ferraris
Desdemona and Emilia

Finding Inspiration

For those curious to learn more about Canaletto or the vedute style, a brief video.

While recounting the muse behind the name Missing Canaletto, Paolo brought up Canaletto’s painting of Piazza San Marco. We both pauses. There it was, a bright red-figure off to the right.

Unintended? At times, an artists references are deeper, than their conscience. In the case of the theatrical dash of red, Canaletto would have intentionally selected his oil colors.

For Paolo, was it seeing the red coat that day in Piazza San Marco that drew him to raise his camera and capture the frame? As is the privilege of an artist, sometimes, a mystery must be left for the viewer to decide.

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