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Seeing Venice: Bellotto's Grand Canal

  • Essay by Mark Doty

    Bernardo Bellotto's magnificent View of the Grand Canal provides a rich visual record of life in eighteenth-century Venice. This painting—one of the most popular in the J. Paul Getty Museum—is so sweeping in its scope and so detailed that it requires repeated viewings to take in its portrait of daily life in Venice in the 1740s.

    This small book presents Bellotto's great painting in a series of beautiful details that allow the reader to examine the painting closely and enjoy the colorful and busy goings-on of Venetian life captured so unforgettably by Bellotto. The book jacket unfolds to become a small poster of the painting in its entirety. Accompanying these delightful images is a lyrical essay by noted American poet Mark Doty. Together, Bellotto's painting and Doty's prose make for an unforgettable encounter with the art and life of Venice.

    Mark Doty's most recent book of poems is Source. In 2001 he published the book-length essay Still Life with Oysters and Lemon. A Guggenheim, Ingram-Merrill, and Whiting Fellow, he has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Martha Allrand Prize for Nonfiction. He teaches at the University of Houston, and divides his time between Houston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

    "A book for people who appreciate beauty in its many guises."
    —Windy City Times

    "Selected one of Season's Readings in Art, 2002"
    —New York Newsday

    "Cited in Best Books Issue"
    —Los Angeles Times Book Review

    "An agreeable little essay, on a beautiful painting which this book may just help you to experience more richly."
    —Times Literary Supplement

    —Easy Reader

    "Remarkable for [its] physical beauty and for the wide-ranging writing that uses the artwork to explore themes of grief, love, creativity, and time."
    —Ruminator Review

    Included in "Gifts for Book Lovers 2002"
    —Bloomsbury Review

    64 pages
    5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches
    40 color illustrations
    ISBN 978-0-89236-658-3

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum