Francesco Guardi - inv. 447

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793)

Gondolas on the Lagoon (Grey Lagoon)
1765 c.
31 x 41,8 cm
1898 acquisition 
Inv. 447

18th Century Venetian Room
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This painting is considered as a masterpiece of Francesco Guardi's poetical landscape painting.
Although the possible date of this painting has long been discussed, scholars generally agree in dating the work to 1765, as this is the period in which Canaletto's influence, evident in "Gondolas on the Lagoon", was strongly noticeable in Guardi's art.
This veduta ("view" in Italian) is characterised by a suggestive, almost magic atmosphere; a gondola sails on the calm water, while in the sunset light the Venetian estuary is barely visible.
The predominant colours of the painting are grey and pale blue, illuminated by pink patches in the background.
The only element that allows us to distinguish between the sky and the water is a line of buildings not very well defined, perhaps identifiable with one of  the furthest points of Murano.
Scholars agree that, in this remarkable picture, the composition is uniquely balanced and refined, representing a starting point for the development of landscape painting in the Nineteenth century.