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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