Francesco Guardi - inv. 316
This work is linked to The Custom's Point (inv. 317)
These two Venetian vedute (views) are in an excellent state of conservation.
The first panel shows part of Saint Mark’s Square. On the left, the final arcades of the Doge’s Palace act as a backdrop to the scene which opens out over the lagoon towards the island of San Giorgio in the distance. Almost in the middle, the column of Saint Mark marks the point where part of the paving is darkened by the shadow cast by the Sansoviniana Library. A number of boats can be seen moored at the jetty, including the great State Galleon. Barely sketched figures animate the scene and help give it depth. Probably inspired by earlier works by Canaletto, this is one of the Venetian views that the artist repeated in a number of slightly different versions.
In the second panel Guardi paints the Punta della Dogana, (The Custom’s Point), with its portico and tower surmounted by a statue of Fortune. In the background, behind the moored boats, we can see some buildings on the island of Giudecca. The entrance to the Grand Canal is depicted in the foreground, crossed by gondolas.
The unusual but not rare use of wooden panels in Guardi’s works has in the past raised doubts about the attribution to this great Venetian painter. However, the nervous yet vibrant touch and the figures painted as small luminous dots confirm Guardi’s hand and allow the two panels to be dated to his mature phase, and thus to about 1770.
Very probably these two vedute were part of the production that was commissioned from him, as from other famous Venetian veduta painters, by foreigners who wanted to take home a ‘souvenir of Venice’.