GIUSEPPE CANELLA ; GIOVANNI MIGLIARA
(Verona, 1788 - Florence, 1847) ; (Alessandria, 1785 - Milan, 1837) -
Rural scene with figures, Marine scene with figures; Genoa, a view of la Lanterna; Rural landscape with a church, monks and a wayfarer

two oils on copper, diameter 11 cm, signed: Canella; two fixés sous verre, diameter 8 cm

enclosed within a contemporary rosewood, ebony and gilt bronze frame, 42 x 50 cm



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It is interesting to note how a contemporary of Canella and Migliara perceived their work, making a direct comparison in Il nuovo ricoglitore ossia archivi d’ogni letteratura antica e moderna con rassegna e notizie di libri nuovi e nuove edizioni, anno VIII, Parte Seconda, Milano 1832:

Urban scenes. This year Migliara graced with his paintings the exhibition of the Turin Academy, which made our own all the poorer to which we offer our sweet condolence. It was not however, deprived of paintings representing urban themes; in fact there were rather many especially given the numerous exhibits from the productive brush of Giuseppe Canella. He offered up thirteen views taken from various locations in France and Spain, such as the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Dyer Factory in Rouen, the Square with the old tower in the same city, the Archbishopric and a district in Paris and many others, all large, especially the Pont Neuf which was bigger than the rest.

Canella is an artist who paints truthfully, in a documentary fashion, knowing how to infuse his scenes with local colour, with admirable vision, especially when depicting a long canal, a wide flat road, and in first-line persepective; his characters are rendered with spirit and realism, with rapid brushstrokes leaving signs of genius. A painter of touch and daring.

Some like to compare the works of Canella with that of Migliara but we cannot see how this can be done in a satisfactory manner as although they paint similar subjects, their methods are different. Canella only depicts exteriors with good perspective while Migliara depicts both outdoor and interior scenes also with good perspective enabling the spectator’s eye to sweep around the tombs between the vast arches of the Milanese Cathedral and other temples. Canella has more daring, Migliara’s depiction of foliage hardly varies, Migliara’s alternates with different plants, Canella painted large views, Migliara painted still larger ones, losing none of the detail and which are highly finished as indeed are his smaller scenes, Migliara also has a strength of colour and certain chromatic tones that would be difficult to find in many other contemporary artists. We can therefore conclude that they are two extremely able painters and a nation should rejoice to have such a choice to make; indeed it should truly rejoice that, in judging fairly, it is able to give each painter his due, without indulging in the taking of sides.

The two roundels by Canella, oil on copper, depict genre scenes; in the first a village scene with a church and spire in the background and a lively group of characters in the foreground, some riders on horseback and some peasants. The second is a lakeside scene also with characters. Both have a vivid sense of narrative. Both are signed “Canella”.

The two glass paintings by Migliara depict respectively a mountain landscape with a church, some monks and a traveller, the second with the Lantern of Genoa. Here the atmosphere is more moody, almost dreamy with gentler more muted colours than the bright scenes by Canella. Undoubtedly this difference is also due to the different techniques used by the artists.

As already pointed out the roundels appear to be if not from the same year then from the same period, datable to the late 1820s to early 1830s.