Friday, February 13, 2009

Canaletto drawing

It's still mind blowing to me that I can go to a museum's web site and see images from its collection on my computer screen. No trip across town. No crowds. No entry fee. The software is such you can blow up the picture and see details you might not even see in person.

I came upon a Canaletto capriccio at the Morgan Library and Museum Online Collection, which shone some sun on an overcast day. In the sepia ink and wash drawing, Canaletto created a vibrant church scene that moves even though it is absolutely still. Your eye drifts from highlighted church facade with its semi-circular window, to the left curved door, to the canal arch. The dark shadow on the right contrasts with the receding middle tones, revealing depth. No YouTube video can do what his hand on paper could.

Although it is a capriccio, a fantasy, it seems as real as Venice might look, warm under pale pink sunlight.

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