The Horses of St. Mark's, c. 1901
Walter Richard Sickert
Danish, British, 1860
pen, brush and black ink with graphite and black chalk, touched with opaque yellow, on bluish-grey laid paper
25.4 x 20.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6578)
On his first visit to Venice in 1895, Sickert painted conventional images of the full façade of St. Mark's, but on a return in 1901, he focused - with more interesting results - on fragments, including the central lunette with the famous four bronze horses below it.With its oblique point of view and even more radical cropping, his composition seems to derive from Monet's celebrated series of Rouen Cathedral (1892-94), avant-garde French art being his main source of inspiration. This attractive drawing, almost abstract in its two-dimensional patterning and decorative use of colour, was preparatory for a whole series of prints and paintings on a subject that was obviously very popular commercially.