This is an imaginary scene – a caprice – inspired by buildings in Italian cities and the surrounding countryside. It shows ruins from the classical past alongside contemporary architecture. Dwarfed by a crumbling arched portico, a small group of figures – tourists and residents of the small town in the distance, perhaps – are captivated by the statue of a lion, a symbol of Venice. The church spires and bell towers of the small town pierce the hazy sky.
Views of imagined landscapes were popular during the eighteenth century. Canaletto and Guardi painted similar ones, but this work seems nearer to the style of Bellotto, who came from Venice and travelled extensively around the Italian peninsula, producing views of Rome, Florence and Verona. However, it is not of a high enough quality to be accepted as by this artist.
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