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On the Grand Canal in Venice, Frits Thaulow

On the Grand Canal in Venice - Frits Thaulow. 1885. Oil on panel. 52 x 36 cm

Venice is rightfully referred to as one of the most unusual places of Europe. There are no streets, and the canals have spilled over here instead, with the houses surrounded by water shimmering in the sun. This famous city located on the water keeps attracting crowds of tourists; and, of course, the artist, who chose water in all its manifestations as the main plot for most of his paintings, should meet with Venice!

The meeting took place in 1885 and resulted in the work titled “On the Grand Canal of Venice”. The Grand Canal is the most famous one, crossing the part of the Venice where all the most beautiful buildings are concentrated, being the reason why the locals refer to it as the "Palace Canal".

Thaulow, however, focused his attention not on the luxurious palaces, but rather on water. Most part of the painting is occupied by the channel - the master admires the water playing in the sun, making it light blue. As per Thaulow, it is not the beautiful architectural monuments that make the city superior, but the soft blue water creates the mood of majestic Venice.

Having feasted your eyes on the canal, you will notice that the Norwegian impressionist devoted the rest of the picture to the most characteristic details of the city, including the palaces with lancet windows, either Ca' Rezzonico or Palazzo Barbarigo, gondolas swaying on the channel waves, artsy pillars sticking out of the water, crowned with modest candle-shaped lanterns, and just a few greeneries. Traditionally for Thaulow, people are missing, this is his choice allowing to avoid getting distracted from the landscape.

It is widely considered that the most outstanding paintings of the master are those where Thaulow depicted the modest cities and towns, as in this case he managed to present a well-known, even grandiose places in the intimate and soulful manner. We are not seeking photographic similarity here, and can hardly for sure what famous buildings are shown - we rather catch the mood, “breathing” the sunny day of the “Queen of the Adriatic”, Venice ...
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