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Francesco Guardi, View of the Venetian Lagoon with the Tower of Malghera

Key facts
Full title View of the Venetian Lagoon with the Tower of Malghera
Artist Francesco Guardi
Artist dates 1712 - 1793
Date made probably 1770s
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 21.3 × 41.3 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2524
Location Room 39
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
View of the Venetian Lagoon with the Tower of Malghera
Francesco Guardi

This is one of of Guardi’s most serene paintings. The summery Venetian sky and the water of the lagoon merge almost seamlessly, broken only by a softly painted landscape and a few buildings. The tower of Malghera, the city’s ancient fortress, lay on the edge of the lagoon near Mestre, but the focus here is on nature and the peaceful mood, not this man-made structure.

Among the expanse of blue haze are little boats with tall, spiky masts carrying local fishermen. With a few light-handed flicks of his brush, Guardi captured the white sail in the distance and the figures washing clothes or fishing at the water’s edge.

Guardi created thin, almost transparent layers of paint, with feathery brushstrokes and pale tones to evoke the shimmering quality of the light.

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