Skip to main content
An Architectural Caprice
Francesco Guardi
/

This capriccio, or architectural fantasy, is a patchwork of features taken from different buildings in Venice: the archway in the foreground is from the Torre dell'Orologio (clock tower) while the buildings and staircase beyond are from the inner courtyard of the Doge’s Palace. Guardi has exaggerated the width of the archway and the distance to the arches beyond to draw our eye further into the painting, while the staircase gives the scene a sense of grandeur.

The archway we are looking through is partially in shadow, but patches of intense sunlight cut across the floor and wall to the left. This feels like a snapshot of city life: two men give money to a beggar boy, while a woman in a splash of yellow walks away from us. Guardi has clearly taken delight in depicting particular details, like the statue above the door on the left and the white cloth draped over the windowsill, and the hanging lantern opposite.

Key facts
Artist Francesco Guardi
Artist dates 1712 - 1793
Full title An Architectural Caprice
Date made 1770-8
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54.2 x 36.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2523
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo