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Place de la Haute-Vieille-Tour, Rouen

Giuseppe Canella

(1788 - 1847) | 953.4

Date : 1824 | Medium : Oil on canvas

This artist from Verona, who studied with his stage designer father, discovered France in 1823 when he went there with the Austrian ambassador. He stayed there until 1832, travelling between Paris, Fontainebleau, Normandy, Alsace and the Baden region, and making a name as a landscapist. He worked on views of cities in the French 18th century style, but took the Dutch Old Masters as a model, while introducing a feeling for detail typical of the Romantic period.

In Normandy, he was very partial to this view of Rouen, producing a larger version of it in 1830 and a variant in 1831. The view is taken from a point in the city that appealed greatly to painters and engravers right up to Claude Monet. This was the balcony of the Fierte Saint-Romain, above the main market place in Rouen, which once offered a magnificent view along Rue de l’Épicerie of the Calende portal and the two cathedral towers. The picture was painted two years after the fire that destroyed the Renaissance spire. The square is busy with daily life: a dog drinking from the stream, men wearing the traditional 'blaude' (smock), cap or hat, and women in typical regional headdresses.