words by Carol King
More than 100 of 18th-century painter Francesco Guardi’s paintings and drawings are on show at the Museo Correr in Venice.
‘Francesco Guardi – 1712/1793’ marks the third centenary of Guardi’s birth. Guardi is known as the last great landscape artist of the 18th century and the show includes major works loaned for the event that have never been displayed in Venice. The monographic exhibition aims to highlight his complex artistic production, from the lesser-known figure paintings of his youth to his interior scenes, concluding with the vedute (views) of Venice and capricci (architectural fantasies) he painted in his maturity and old age.
Guardi began working as a landscape painter c.1755, when he was more than 40-years-old. Initially, his paintings echoed the compositions of Canaletto and Michele Marieschi, with fluid, controlled brushstrokes. By the 1760s, he was famous for his lively, shorthand style, and it was then that he painted 12 canvases of the Ducal celebrations adapted from Canaletto’s models and engraved by Giambattista Brustolon. In 1782, Guardi was commissioned to paint four pictures to commemorate the visit of Pope Pius VI to Venice. After the prestigious commission, Guardi went on to make celebratory paintings of the incognito visit to Venice of the Russian archdukes, who travelled under the name of the Counts of the Nort.
‘Francesco Guardi – 1712/1793’ runs until 6 January 2013. Tickets cost €12.