(Venice, 1712 – 1793)
oil on canvas
The painting is an invented view representing the ruins of a building with arches nearby the Venetian lagoon. It is one of the copious variations of this subject realized by Francesco Guardi between 1770 and 1790. In the words of Antonio Morassi, the representation seems as a «visione d’incantesimo» that emerges from the lagoon «come spettro di grondante malinconia senza fine».
This capriccio appears in close relation with an autograph drawing preserved at the Springell collection (Portinscale, England) and two other paintings: one at the Jill Newhouse Gallery in New York and the other, with the variation of the arch in the lagoon, at the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona.
Together with Giovanni Antonio Canal and Bernardo Bellotto, Francesco Guardi is one of the most important Venetian vedutisti of the 18th Century. During his activity, he received many important commissions like the paintings representing the Feste dogali for the doge Alvise IV Mocenigo, today at Louvre in Paris, and the paintings commemorating the visit of Pio VI in Venice in 1782 divided between the Cleveland Art Museum, Oxford Ashmolean Museum and some private Milan collections.