A Francesco Guardi for the Ashmolean Museum

Francesco Guardi (1712–1793)
Venice : The Fondamenta Nuove with the Lagoon
and the Island of San Michele
, c. 1758
Oil on canvas - 72 x 120 cm
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
Photo : Ashmolean Museum

23/1/14 - Acquisition - Oxford, Ashmolean Museum - The Ashmolean recently received a donation through Acceptance in Lieu of an unpublished painting by Francesco Guardi entitled Venice : the Fondamenta Nuove with the Lagoon and the Island of San Michele, produced in 1758. A subsidy provided by the Art Fund, as well as various other contributions, notably by the Sir Denis Mahon Charitable Trust, made it possible to raise the balance needed after deduction of the tax owed.

The work, one of the first views of the lagoon by Guardi, was probably intended for one of the many British on the Grand Tour, although it is not one of the most picturesque vedute of Venice, or at least the most sought after. The Fondamente Nuove were built in the 16th century and are located at the north end of the city. The painter represented this perspective of the lagoon several times, though without closing the composition with the Dolomites and their snowy peaks like here, given the particularly humid climate in Venice. Thus the mountains are sometimes veiled over by haze in the paintings found at the Kunsthaus in Zurich (1755-1760) and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (1765-1770). A painting dating from around 1759 residing in a private collection is however, very similar to the one now joining the Ashmolean : the point of view is identical, there are about the same number of boats set in the same spot and the mountains can be seen in the distance. Only the light and the aspect of the sky vary from one to the other.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, jeudi 23 janvier 2014

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