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[buh-lot-oh; It. bel-lawt-taw]
Bellotto, Bernardo, 1720-80, Venetian architectural and landscape painter, also called Canaletto, after his uncle and teacher Canaletto. His paintings, at first resembling those of his master, are numerous and may be seen in most of the leading European museums. They usually depict scenes in the cities in which Bellotto resided. In 1747 he was appointed court painter at Dresden and in 1770 painter to Stanislaus II at Warsaw.

See S. Kozakiewicz, Bernardo Bellotto (tr., 2 vol. 1972).

Bernardo Bellotto (30 January 1720 – 17 October 1780) was an Italian urban landscape painter or vedutista, and printmaker in etching famous for his vedutes of European cities (Dresden, Vienna, Turin and Warsaw). He was the pupil and nephew of Canaletto and sometimes used the latter's illustrious name, signing himself as Bernardo Canaletto — fraudulently, according to some. Especially in Germany, paintings attributed to Canaletto may actually be by Bellotto rather than by his uncle; in Poland, they are by Bellotto, who is known there as "Canaletto".

Bellotto's style was characterized by elaborate representation of architectural and natural vistas, and by the specific quality of each place's lighting. It is plausible that Bellotto, and other Venetian masters of vedute, may have used the camera obscura in order to achieve superior precision of urban views.


Bellotto was born in Venice, the son of Lorenzo Antonio Bellotto and Fiorenza Canal, sister of the then famous Canaletto, and studied in his uncle's workshop.

In 1742 he moved to Rome, where he produced vedute of that city. In 1744 and 1745 he traveled northern Italy, again depicting vedutes of each city. Among others, he worked for Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy.

From 1747 to 1758 he moved to Dresden, following an invitation from King August III of Poland. He created paintings of the cities Dresden and Pirna and their surroundings. Today these paintings preserve a memory of Dresden's former beauty, which was destroyed in bombing during World War II.

His international reputation grew, and in 1758 he accepted an invitation from Empress Maria Theresa to come to Vienna, where he painted views of the city's monuments. Thereafter he worked in Munich and then again in Dresden. When King August III died, Bellotto's work became less important in Dresden. As a consquence he left Dresden to seek employment in St Petersburg at the court of Catherine II of Russia. On his way to St. Petersburg, however, Bellotto accepted an invitation from Poland's King Stanisław August Poniatowski to become his court painter in Warsaw. Here he remained for the rest of his life as court painter to King Stanislaw August, for whom he painted numerous views of the Polish capital and its environs for the Royal Castle in Warsaw. His paintings of Warsaw were used in rebuilding the city after its near-complete destruction in World War II.

Bellotto died in Warsaw in 1780.

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