Capriccio con Arco rovinato e mura di paese
Oil on canvas (relined). 37.5 x 27.5 cm.
The works of Antonio Canal (called Canaletto) and those of Francesco Guardi have done much to shape our mental image of Venetian art - the one with his severe topographical precision, the other visionary and impressionist. Unlike other veduta painters of the era, Guardi was purely interested in the outer appearance and magical atmosphere of this unique city. Several years before the present work's creation, the proud maritime republic had fallen into the hands of Napoleon. This led to the development of a new and more austere style of art which broke with centuries old tradition and was championed by the city's last great artist, Antonio Canova.
Whilst Guardi's Venetian colleagues dispersed throughout Europe to decorate the palaces and churches of the Ancien Regime, he never left his home town. Instead he remained in Venice as an independent artist, but died before being able to enjoy his renown as one of the city's great masters.
Most of his œuvre, especially the later works, comprises of so-called “capriccios” - fanciful arrangements of real and imaginary landscapes, architecture and ruins populated by merry inhabitants. These works are characterised by their lively contrasts and quick, masterful brushwork. There are several versions of this composition, which have all been painstakingly sought out and published by Morassi, who describes the present work as an “opera brillante e spirituosa“ and dates it to 1770/75.
Schaeffer Galleries, New York. - Private collection, Switzerland. - Galerie Fischer Auktionen, Lucerne 11.11.1994, lot 2047. - Private collection, Germany.
Mostra dei Guardi, exhib. cat.: Palazzo Grassi, Venice 1965, p. 252, no. 131 (illus.). - R. Pallucchini: Note sulla Mostra dei Guardi, in: Arte Veneta, 1965, p. 234. - L. Ragghianti-Collobi: Disegni di F. Guardi nella collezione Horne a Firenze, in: Problemi guardeschi, Venice, 1967, p. 185, pl. 139. - A. Morassi: Guardi. L´opera complete di Antonio e Francesco Guardi, Venice 1973, p. 279 and p. 487, cat. no. 956, illus. no. 845. - L. Rossi Bortollato: Francesco Guardi. L´opera completa, 1974, no. 470. p. 116/117. - D. Succi: Francesco Guardi. Intinéraire d´une aventure artistique, 1995, fig.151.
Mostra dei Guardi, Palazzo Grassi, Venice 5.6.-10.10 1965, no. 131