The Church of S. Maria della Salute, Venice, c. 1780-1785
oil on canvas
71.1 x 94.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6188)
Views of Venice were a staple of Guardi's work. To the right we see the church of the Salute; in the distance, the tower of the Dogana, the Customs House. The result is strikingly different from the paintings of Canaletto or Bellotto, artists whose work wants to convince us of its accuracy. Guardi instead offers us the view of real place as transformed by his personal vision: light sparkles across the water, surfaces shimmer, and even the buildings seem insubstantial.
Frame: carved wood, gilded. Britain, mid-eighteenth century