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Capriccio with Roman Ruins

Artist:
Francesco Guardi (Italian, Venice 1712–1793 Venice)
Date:
18th century
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over graphite; framing outlines in pen and brown ink drawn by the artist; sheet glued onto secondary paper support
Dimensions:
sheet: 10 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. (27.6 x 40 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
From the Collection of Rita and Frits Markus, Bequest of Rita Markus, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.330.5
Not on view
While the idyllic, imaginary subject matter of this large composition is typical of Venetian paintings, drawings, and prints of the mid- to late eighteenth century, it is Guardi's realization of such drawings that ranks them as great feats of artistic virtuosity. Here, the landscape is articulated with a stunning immediacy and economy of mark, suggesting a light-filled space that gradually and magically dissolves into the far distance of the white paper. The ruin of an ancient Roman triumphal arch at the center more or less frames another, more complete building-a small, pedimented temple-behind it. The artist seems to have considered cropping the composition at left, after having drawn it, by ruling a line in graphite at the proposed cut and smudging some wash over the undesired forms to minimize them. The quick manner of summing up the contours of the forms with jittery, broken lines and the extensive use of underdrawing in graphite are among the hallmarks of Guardi's drawing style.
L. Cohen, London; Guillaume de Gontaut-Biron, marquis de Biron (1859–1939), Paris and Geneva; Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord (French, Paris 1754–1838 Paris); Frits and Rita Markus; Donor: The Estate of Rita Markus
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 8, 2007–March 25, 2007.

Antonio Morassi Guardi. Tutti i disegni di Antonio, Francesco e Giacomo Guardi. Venice, 1975, cat. no. 633, fig. no. Pl. 609, p. 187, ill.



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