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Two Views of Venice

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Venice: The Doge’s Palace and the Molo from the Basin of San Marco and its companion picture Venice: The Punta della Dogana with S. Maria della Salute were intended to be hung together. Paintings like these were a reminder of Venice’s impressive architecture and bustling atmosphere, and fulfilled a taste for poetic views of the city among locals and foreign collectors.

Guardi shows Venice here as a prosperous city, although by the second half of the eighteenth century the Venetian Republic’s control of the Mediterranean sea trade was growing weaker. For centuries its maritime power had been unrivalled, its economic growth achieved by receiving goods from the east by sea and selling them in the growing European market.

By the 1770s, when these paintings were probably made, Guardi had moved away from the influence of the famed Venetian artist Canaletto in terms of technique. He continued to paint similar parts of the city, but with a more free-handed approach and a particular interest in atmospheric effects.

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