ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota

Art and Artists
 Berenice Abbott
 Giovanni Canal
 Frank Gehry
 Marsden Hartley
 Louis Lozowick
 Mexico (Nayarit)
 David Nash
 Georgia O'Keeffe
 Vincent van Gogh

Inner Worlds What is Art?   Identity Designing Spaces and Places
Giovanni Canal (Canaletto)
Discussion Questions/Activities

Canaletto, Grand Palazzo If you lived in one of these buildings and leaned out the window, what sounds would you hear? Would the water smell? What would the weather be like? What activity would interest you most? Why?
Canaletto, Grand Canal from Palazzo Flangini to Palazzo Bembo.

Where was Canaletto standing when he painted this scene? How do you know? What has Canaletto done with his painting technique to make his buildings seem real? Is he painting a cityscape or a landscape?

Which gondola do you think would be the most expensive to ride in? Why? If you needed to get somewhere in a hurry, which one would you take? Which would you take simply for pleasure? Which one would be best for carrying a large load? Gondolas have been called Venetian taxis. Why do you think they are called this?

This is a painting of the city of Venice, Italy. In what way is this painting like a postcard today? Why would tourists want to buy a painting like this? Would it be a good souvenir? What might be a souvenir of your home town?

Van Gogh, Olive Trees Compare Grand Canal to van Gogh's Olive Trees. Which painting is more realistic? Why? What can you tell about the personality of each artist and the time period in which he lived by looking at these paintings? Give reasons for your answers.
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Trees

Vedute: Details, Details, Details!
Take a trip to your local playground or park and try drawing a souvenir "vedute." Don't forget that vedute are realistic, accurate, and detailed . Include as many details as you can see! Try using linear or atmospheric perspective in your view. If you like, make your veduta into a postcard. Write an account of your trip on the back and mail it to a friend.

Tourists and Travel

  • Write a travel brochure for visitors to 18th-century Venice, using Canaletto's painting as a guide. What would you say to entice them to come to the city? What are some of the highlights of the city?
  • Imagine that you are a travel writer working on an article about Venice. Write an account of your travels in Venice. In what ways has it changed since the days of the Grand Tour? Good travel writing uses descriptive words about the place, history, personal experiences, directions to the place, what to see and do, and the costs involved.

It's inYour Perspective
How did Canaletto manage to create a realistic sense of depth in this painting? It's all in his perspective. Try this: Pick a spot in a large room. With your arm outstretched and a ruler or tape measure in hand, measure how high an object in the distance appears to be from where you are standing. Measure the distance from where you are standing to the object. Move closer. Now measure the object's height again. Does the height of the object appear to change as you move closer to it? What can you conclude about how the human eye perceives objects in the distance?

Canaletto perspective postcard
Lines of perspective in Canaletto's Grand Canal

Venice and the Sea
Venice has long been an endangered city, plagued by the instability of the marshy islands on which it is built. Over the years, the city of Venice has actually begun to sink, and there have been devastating floods. Read about and report on the environmental issues facing contemporary Venice, and find out how people around the world are working to save this historic city. What might you do to solve some of these problems? If you were the city planner, how might you have prevented them?

Plan Your Grand Tour
Design your own "Grand Tour!" What cities would you include? What will you learn or discover about each place? (Hint: use the Internet to look up travel bureaus of each city you will visit). Write the itinerary for your trip. Where will you go first--what would be the most logical route to follow? How will you get to each place? How long will you want to stay in each place? Gather maps and information about each place you will stop.

Wild about Travel
Some people were obsessed with travel and leisure activities in the 18th century. Why did people begin to travel so much? What social, political, economic, and technological factors contributed to this fascination with travel?

Vocabulary Terms

gondola--A long narrow boat used on the canals in Venice, Italy.

perspective--A variety of techniques used to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat surface by mimicking the effects of distance on human perception. Perspective shows depth and make objects appear three-dimensional on a two-dimensional surface.

Realism--A style of art that represent nature accurately as seen by the human eye.

veduta--A painting, drawing, or print of a whole or particular view of a town or city.

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Discussion/Activities, About the Artist, About the Art, Teacher Lessons

Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Identity | Designing Spaces and Places
About the Art | About the Artist | Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons