Venice: The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day

The painting shows a view towards the Doge's Palace on the right, with Santa Maria della Salute and the entrance to the Grand Canal on the left. The annual ceremony of the Wedding of the Sea is about to take place. The official procession is making its way from the Doge's Palace to the state barge, the 'Bucintoro', and the Doge's ceremonial umbrella is just visible in the crowd. The Doge will drop a gold ring from the barge to symbolise the marriage of Venice to the sea. The arms of the Doge Alvise Pisani, who ruled from 1735-41 are visible on the 'Bucintoro'. These details and stylistic considerations give the approximate date for the work.

This work and its companion piece, 'A Regatta on the Grand Canal', are among the grandest views of Venice that Canaletto made for the many wealthy visitors who flocked to see the city and to witness the impressive public ceremonies held on the Grand Canal.

Key facts

Artist dates
1697 - 1768
Full title
Venice: The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day
Date made
about 1740
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
121.9 x 182.8 cm
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Lord Revelstoke, 1929
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Two Venetian Ceremonial Scenes