Venice: Piazza San Marco

The painting is one of the earliest of Guardi's works as a view painter, probably dating from about 1760. It shows the most famous of Venetian squares, the Piazza San Marco, with the medieval cathedral and its bell tower in the background and the 16th-century public offices, the Procuratie Vecchie, left, and the Procuratie Nuove, right, with shops and cafés to each side.

In Guardi's painting figures and architecture are more freely handled than was customary with Canaletto, and the crowd that idles in the Piazza is given greater prominence. In a smaller view of the same site of some twenty years later, also in the Collection ('Venice: Piazza San Marco'), the scene is painted with greater freedom and atmospheric resonance, with an evening shadow falling from the left.

Key facts

Artist dates
1712 - 1793
Full title
Venice: Piazza San Marco
Date made
about 1760
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
72.4 x 119.1 cm, 27.5 kg
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1846
Inventory number
Location in Gallery