Giovanni Antonio Canal is in all likelihood the painter most associated with Venice. How could he not be with such a surname? You probably know him better as Canaletto however. His meticulously detailed paintings of the city and its traditions are renowned for their accuracy, and though he was not averse to changing a few details for the sake of better composition, he didn’t go as far as Turner, whose views of the city are impossible to recreate.
Canaletto’s painting of the entrance to Arsenale was completed in 1732 and furnishes plenty of detail to chart the changes that have taken place since then; the removal of the classical building in front of the right gate tower, the cleaning of the Porta Magna to the left. The bridge across the canal has also subtly changed, no longer featuring the mechanism to open it to allow shipping through.
What has not changed is the sense of power provided by those high walls and imposing towers. The arsenal was a symbol of a republic that meant business.