Bernardo Bellotto (1722–1780) is one of the most famous vedute painters of the 18th century. His views and prospects of town and country are so rich in detail, so precisely and meticulously painted that historic places come to life again before the viewer’s eyes. But far from being simply faithful reproductions of sights, his vedute are rather carefully planned compositions, the result of the artist availing himself of all the technical know-how of his age. During his time in Dresden, Bellotto created some of his most important works, which now form part of the collection at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.
These vedute still influence the way Dresden is perceived today, at home and abroad. They present a wonderful panorama of the old Augustan city, on which two of the greatest art collectors in German history – Augustus the Strong and his son Augustus III – left their mark. Thanks to these two electors, who simultaneously held the crown of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Dresden art collections flourished, becoming some of the most important in the world. This volume traces the various stages of Bellotto’s career, focussing in detail on the canvases of his Dresden period. It also examines the history of the world-famous picture gallery, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, and the era of Baroque collection-building in Dresden.