NARRATOR: Turner visited Venice many times but this was his first view of the city in oils. But the painting is less a response to the city than an act of homage to the greatest painter of Venice, Antonio Canaletto, who was extremely popular among English collectors. Curator David Blayney Brown. DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: If one goes to country houses around the country, one’s likely to find whole rooms hung with paintings of Venice by Canaletto. The owners of these houses when they went on their grand tours brought back views of Venice by Canaletto, much as today we would collect picture postcards. They depicted the city, its architecture, its characteristic beauties, and so on. NARRATOR: But Turner’s painting isn’t a mere copy or pastiche of Canaletto, it’s also a portrait. DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: If we look carefully on the left-hand side, on the quayside, we can actually see Canaletto at work on his own pictures, propped up, framed, on an easel. And actually it’s an extraordinarily unlikely thing, it’s an anachronism, because Canaletto didn’t paint outdoors. He was very much a studio artist and there’s no evidence at all that he would have painted in the open air. But what Turner’s trying to do, of course, is to put Canaletto and Canaletto’s pictures in their own setting and to show that he himself is following in Canaletto’s footsteps, looking at the same view.