Illustration: “View of Venice” Study

by Max on March 10, 2000

I believe that traditional black ink is to illustration as blood is to our veins, it’s basic, essential and irreplaceable. That said, my favorite ink hobbies is creating ultra-detailed ink representation from old etching scenes. Case in point: Canaletto‘s “Imaginary View of Venice”.

Here’s what the Met Museum has to say about this 18th century etching:

Venice in the eighteenth century was the site of an extraordinary flourishing of print production, which reached its apogee in the years 1740–45. It was in these very years that Canaletto, the great painter of views of Venice and also of England during his sojourn there, made approximately thirty etchings: thirteen large plates and seventeen smaller ones. The title plate to the series states that these are “Views, some representing actual sites, others imaginary.” This is one of the imaginary views, reminiscent of Venice and the lagoon. For an unknown reason, Canaletto divided this plate down the middle, between the backs of the two central figures, relatively soon after it was made. Fewer than ten impressions are known from the undivided plate. The date, 1741 in Roman numerals on the wall at the left, is the only one on any of Canaletto’s prints.

So what I did is taking the original graphic, blowing it up to massive proportions, then inking each line in pain-staking detail on paper. The work below took close to a month of inking, and for a final rustic touch I used sepia watercolor mix. This is probably my most laborious artwork to date.

"View if Venice" - Ink Study

Tools used: Ink, extra thick paper and many, many hours.

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