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Francesco Guardi, A Gondola on the Lagoon near Mestre

Key facts
Full title A Gondola on the Lagoon near Mestre
Artist Francesco Guardi
Artist dates 1712 - 1793
Date made after 1780
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 29.5 × 44.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1895
Inventory number NG1454
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Gondola on the Lagoon near Mestre
Francesco Guardi

Two gondoliers wearing traditional carnival costumes propel their boat across the Venetian lagoon, their oars stirring the water, their passengers sheltered by a canopy. On the horizon, sails catch the breeze.

In the distance is the tower of Malghera, near Mestre on the mainland (Guardi’s larger View of the Venetian Lagoon with the Tower of Malghera is also in the National Gallery’s collection). To the left, you can just make out several figures, perhaps fishermen, stood on a thin strip of land.

The painting is now quite worn and damaged in places but it still has the atmosphere of a summer’s day, with changing light on the water’s surface. This is likely to be a late work of around 1780, and comparable with a painting of a similar date in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan.

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