Landscape painter Giovanni Antonio Canal was so skilled at his craft that English patrons pleaded with him to relocate to their country to create the same eloquent and accurate portraits of their homeland as he had of his own.
He had trained under his own father, and then traveled to Rome to study ruins and the landscape. When he returned to Venice he worked at capturing every mood and scene of the city; accomplishing excellent results with both his painting and etching. Many travelers would seek out one of his works to bring home with them - Canal's small "veduta" paintings were the precursor of well-made picture postcards.
Throughout his career his primary patrons were English collectors, including members of the royal family as well as politicians and aristocrats. Many of them pressured him to travel to England and paint the scenes and landscape of the country. Canal relocated to London in 1746, and would remain in Great Britain until 1755. During this time his work lost a bit of the brilliance he attained in his Venetian works. Some attribute this to his skills as a draughtsman simply recording the architecture of the great houses, while others attribute it to the English climate which was so dramatically different from his own native country.
He returned home in 1755 and immediately began painting more Venetian scenes. He was elected to the Venice Academy at the age of sixty-six, and continued to work for the rest of his life. Though Canal was noted for his realistic depictions of the scenery and landscape, he was also remarkable for his ability to capture the atmosphere of his subject, especially the colors and sparkling lights of Venice.
Some of his small (miniature) veduta are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.