Antonio Canella is a painter of genre active in Venice between 1870 and 1887 and domiciled, according to the few sources, in San Vio, in the Dorsoduro district. We have very little biographical information about this painter, but on the contrary, there are many testimonies of his works that appeared in national exhibitions.
The genre paintings
He exhibited mainly between Milan, Turin and Genoa, appearing at the Promotrici Exhibitions with subjects of genre executed in watercolor, oil and pastel. The friend’s visit was exhibited at the Promotrice in Turin in 1870, followed by The Patron and The Comforter the following year.
In 1871, Antonio Canella also exhibited Il filarmonico in Genoa. His painting is a kind of anecdotal address, focused on the detailed description of the scenic details: Most of the scenes are set in the eighteenth century and therefore prevails that will embellish the works through a lively and loose chromatism.
The eighteenth-century reconstruction and anecdotal scenes
The use of a clear palette and the almost total absence of chiaroscuro means that his light works are particularly appreciated by the foreign market, fascinated by the reconstruction in costume, attention to optically perfect details and strong references to Chinese or Japanese orientalism.
Several works by the author, such as The antique dealer del 1880, are inserted in settings where the passion for cineserie is manifested, as you can see from the precious fabrics he holds in his hand and from the tapestry, but also from the pink umbrella that appears in the upper right corner. The depth is almost completely absent and the colour creates superficial and very luminous tonal joints.
This occurs in many other works by Antonio Canella, exhibited throughout the 1970s and until 1886, the year in which he participated, for the last time, in the Turin Exhibition. Among his most significant works of genre are Interior of a Convent, Magazine in the folder, Sister Porter, Contemplation, Old Robe, Library, A Naive Man and Quiet.