Venetian Canal Scene

by Antonietta Brandeis


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DIMENSIONS: 5.7 x 10 inches (14.5 x 25.5 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘AB.’ (lower right)
MEDIUM: Oil on board



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    Antonietta Brandeis  was one among many artists to make the artistic pilgrimage to Venice.

    It is in Venice at the Academy that Brandeis perfected her skills as a meticulous landscape and cityscape painter, with intricate and luminous details in the tradition of the eighteenth-century “vedutisti”. In 1870, while still a student at the Academy, she participated in her first exhibition; that of the Società Veneta Promotrice di Belle Arti with the oil painting Cascina della Madonna di Monte Varese. She is documented as having exhibited eight paintings during the years 1872 to 1876.

    During the years 1878 to 1893 Brandeis painted and exhibited numerous works, primarily scenes of Venice, and although she resided chiefly in that city she also travelled and painted in Verona, Bologna, Florence, and Rome. 

    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Antonietta Brandeis is a Czech-born Italia painter who is known for her landscape, genre and portrait paintings.

    In Brandeis’ early life she studied in Prague under the guidance of the Czech artist Karel Javurek. However, after the death of Brandeis’ father her mother married a Venetian, named Giovanni Nobile Scaramella. The marriage had a profound influence on Brandeis’ work as shortly after the marriage the family relocated to Venice. It was in Venice that Brandeis was enrolled into the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts at the age of nineteen, in 1867. Furthermore, Antonietta Brandeis was one of the first females in Italy to be enrolled into the Academy and receive formal training in the fine arts. It is significant and a testament to her level of skill that she was accepted into the Academy in 1867, as women in Italy were only granted the legal right to study Fine Arts in 1875 – Brandeis would have completed her education at the Academy by this time, as a pioneer of females in the arts.

    During her time at the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts Brandeis was taught by high profile figures such as Michelangelo Grigoletti, Napoleone Nani and Federico Moja. Due to her level of skill, as a first year Brandeis was awarded prizes and honours in Perspective and Life Drawing. Furthermore, Brandeis was soon invited to exhibit in her first exhibition at the Societa Veneta Promotrice di Belle Arti. Additionally to this, in 1876 and 1877 she exhibited in the Promotrice Veneta, selling to foreign collectors and thus successfully establishing herself an international reputation for her landscape paintings. However, after feeling her work was not appreciated for being of the same skill calibre as a man – as she was only praised as a woman, she began to sign her work under the name ‘Antonio Brandeis’.

    Brandeis has an incredible ability to capture the intricate details, woven into her landscapes and cityscapes. The golden light bathing the Italian architecture, paired with meticulous attention to detail is characteristic of Brandeis wok – emulating warmth and the stillness, evocative of nostalgia towards a romantic time passed.

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