Can You Guess These Great Cities from their Paintings?

See if you can identify the urban location from these famous painted depictions

By Google Arts & Culture

The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning (1897) by Camille PissarroThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

City 1

Depicting a busy boulevard on a snowy morning, this 1897 work by Camille Pissarro was painted from his room in the Hôtel de Russie. Heavily influenced by some of Manet’s earlier urban works, the painting is an example of Pissarro’s short brushwork, used to capture the movement and dynamism of the busy street scene.

Abstract vertical shapes represent the crowds parading up and down the boulevard, with the carriages passing through the slushy snow on both sides of the street. Can you guess the city?

Paris

The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning by Camille Pissarro. The painting was one of a series the artist made from this exact spot, something he thought might appeal to dealers at the time. Zoom in and explore for yourself, here.

The Grand Canal, Venice (1908) by Claude MonetLegion of Honor

City 2

One of a series of paintings by the artist from his 1908 visit to the city, this is generally regarded by critics as showing Monet at the peak of his powers. He was staying at the Palazza Barbaro at the invitation of Mary Young Hunter and painted this scene from that viewpoint.

The painting captures the shifting appearance of the city caused by the effects of the water, using the mooring poles to counterbalance the buildings on the right of the canvas. But which city is it?

Venice

It's Le Grand Canal by Claud Monet, painted in the famous lagoon-city of Venice. Monet, however, is arguably more interested in capturing the light reflecting on the water than the architectural beauty of the city itself.

Nighthawks (1942) by Edward Hopper (American, 1882-1967)The Art Institute of Chicago

City 3

Edward Hoppers 1942 painting, Night Hawks, shows people in a late night diner as viewed through the large glass window of the building. The light from inside illuminates the empty street and is believed to depict the loneliness of a city late at night.

It's one of the most recognizable paintings in American art, the diner itself was imagined, and not based on a real location, but Hopper said it was a composite of numerous burger bars, grocery stores and bakeries he knew from his home town. Which city was that?

New York

It's New York City, of course. Hopper was a native of Nyack, New York, about 20 miles north of Manhattan, and spent time in Greenwich Village. Explore Night Hawks for yourself here.

London: The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards the City (1750 - 1751) by CanalettoRoyal Collection Trust, UK

City 4

Arriving in this city in 1746 and remaining there for nine years, Canaletto seemed to draw as much inspiration from his adopted home as he did from Rome or Venice in his native Italy.

Unlike many of his other paintings of the city, the view is more or less at ground level and shows off the large curve of the river as it winds through the city. It provides a panoramic view of the city, although it’s safe to say it looks a little different today. But do you know where it is?

London

The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards Westminster by Canaletto is one of a number of London cityscapes produced by Canaletto during his time in the UK. This view is up the river from the terrace at Old Somerset House. 

Brooklyn Bridge by Georgia O'KeeffeBrooklyn Museum

How did you do?

How many of the cities could you identify? If you need to brush up on your urban artwork you can find out more by taking a tour of Canaletto's Europe, here.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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