Bernardo Bellotto is considered to be one of the greatest topographical and landscape painters of the eighteenth century. Trained as a painter of cityscapes, he produced vivid and memorable images of many of the greatest cities of Europe, including Venice, Florence, Rome, Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Warsaw. He also ventured successfully into genre, portraiture, allegory, and history painting. This beautiful book, written by leading specialists on Bellotto, examines his career and artistic development, places his work in the context of the political needs of central European monarchs, and presents a selection of his major paintings from each of his principal periods and genres. Bellotto began as a painter of conventional views of Venice in the manner of his more famous uncle, Canaletto. However, his quest for new subject matter led him to visit half a dozen cities in northern and central Italy in the early 1740s, and at twenty-five he left Italy for northern Europe, where he spent the rest of his life working for royal and aristocratic patrons. In Dresden he was engaged in the service of Augustus III, where he created many glorious canvases and was awarded the title of Court Painter. He then moved to Vienna and recorded its attractions for Empress Maria Theresa. He ended his career as Court Painter in Warsaw, and his detailed paintings of the city played an important role in its reconstruction after the Second World War. The book demonstrates that in each of the places Bellotto lived, he was able to capture the particular light and life with sensitivity and imagination. This book is the catalogue for an exhibition to be held at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from July 29 to October 21, 2001.