An Early View of the Grand Canal
The opening chapter of the Venetian veduta, which reached its acme in the 18th century, has often been identified in the series of paintings which in the late 14th and in the 15th centuries celebrated the glory of the Serenissima. One of the events which greatly attracted the attention of contemporaries was the visit of Henry III of France in 1574. Now a canvas of a late mannerist artist belonging to the so called «Sette maniere» area, recently discovered in a private collection, joins the well-known The Landing of Henry III at the Lido (1593) by Andrea Vicentino in the Palazzo Ducale and The Arrival of Henry III at the Foscari Palace, by Palma il Giovane, now in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie. This painting, reproducing contemporary city life on a festive occasion, can be considered an ante litteram veduta. It provides interesting evidence of the grandiose event, probably designed to meet the patrons’ requirements – possibly the Giustinians, who had hosted the king and his retinue in their palace. This detailed reportage gives us a valuable documentary representation and allows us to ideally reconstruct a long stretch of the Grand Canal at the end of the 15th century.