Canaletto specialized in views of his native city, Venice, working for a devoted and often foreign clientele. This view toward the west end of the Piazza San Marco is typical of the artist's "improvements on nature" by showing in one picture both the Campanile and the Torre dell' Orologio. In actuality these two landmarks, shown framing the left and right edges of the composition, cannot be seen simultaneously from one position. Furthermore, the artist has adopted a slightly elevated viewpoint, which reinforces the perspective lines created by the paving stones. This painting is an important historical document, for it shows what the piazza looked like before alterations were ordered by Napoleon in the early nineteenth century.