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This was Turner’s first view in oils of the city of Venice. He exhibited it at the Royal Academy in 1833, more than a decade after he had been in Venice. The painting is less a response to the city itself, than an act of homage to the greatest painter of Venice, Antonio Canaletto, who had lived in the early part of the previous century. Turner in fact shows Canaletto in the left foreground, working at an easel.

September 2004