Canaletto was born in 1697 in Venice, where he started to paint theatrical scenes with his father Bernardo and brother Cristoforo.
On his trip in Rome in 1719 he met landscape painters Gaspar van Wittel, Giovanni Paolo Pannini and Viviano Codazzi. When he came back to Venice he started to paint city views which were influenced by the works of Luca Carlevrijs and Marco Ricci, even though soon he found his own individual style, quite different from the others.
In the 1740s’ he met English consul and merchant Joseph Smith and thanks to him Canaletto stayed in London for several years (1746 – 1756) painting city views and English country landscapes based on perspective and the use of camera obscura, paying attention on atmospheric representation. Among his important clients were the dukes of Richmond, the dukes of Beaufort and those of Northumberland. After his return in Venice he dedicated himself mainly to his Capricci, such as famous Capriccio palladiano (Parma, Galleria Nazionale), where he combines real elements with alternative places, such as Rialto Quarter and Basilica of Vicenza, but also fantasy elements like Rialto Bridge by Palladio, which was never built.