Francesco Guardi (Italian, Venice 1712–1793 Venice)
Oil on canvas
27 1/8 x 33 3/4 in. (68.9 x 85.7 cm)
Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619
The picture is similar to view paintings by Canaletto of the same location. It was originally one of a pair of canvases, the second of which represented the Piazzetta adjacent to Saint Mark's Square. The artist has signed the miniature canvas at lower right, a clever illusionistic device.
Inscription: Signed (lower right corner, on painting held by man): Franco. / Guardi
John Wilson FitzPatrick, later 1st Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory (by 1844–d. 1883); Augusta, Dowager Lady Castletown of Upper Ossory (1883–d. 1899); Bernard Edward Barnaby FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory, London (1899–1924; sale, Christie's, London, July 18, 1924, no. 144, for £2,205 to Smith); [Knoedler, New York, 1924–25]; Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, New York (1925–his d. 1940); Mrs. Edward S. (Mary Stillman) Harkness, New York (1940–d. 1950)
London. British Institution. June 1844, no. 75 (as "St. Marks Place, Venice," by Guardi, lent by R. [sic] W. Fitzpatrick).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January–March 1884, no. 175 (as "View in Venice," lent by Dowager Lady Castletown of Upper Ossory).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 10 (lent by Edward S. Harkness).
Hempstead, N. Y. Hofstra College. "Metropolitan Museum Masterpieces," June 26–September 1, 1952, no. 1.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Venice, 1700–1800," September 30–November 2, 1952, no. 25.
Indianapolis. John Herron Art Museum. "Venice, 1700–1800," November 15–December 31, 1952, no. 25.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Junior Museum. "The Age of Discovery," October 1, 1957–June 30, 1958, no catalogue?
Allentown, Pa. Allentown Art Museum. "The Circle of Canaletto," February 21–March 21, 1971, no. 22.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 13.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 13.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Treasury of San Marco, Venice," March 5–June 2, 1985, not in catalogue.
Athens. National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum. "From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 13, 1992–April 11, 1993, no. 33.
George A. Simonson. Francesco Guardi, 1712–1793. London, 1904, p. 98, mentions it as in the collection of Lord Castletown, along with a second picture depicting the Piazzetta, signed F. G.
George A. Simonson. "An Early Guardi." Burlington Magazine 25 (August 1914), p. 267, calls it a work of Guardi's artistic maturity.
H[arry]. B. W[ehle]. "Paintings Lent from the Harkness Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28 (January 1933), p. 12.
"Illustrations of Outstanding Harkness Gifts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (October 1951), ill. p. 69.
"List of Gifts and Bequests of Mr. and Mrs. Harkness." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (October 1951), p. 85.
Antonio Morassi. "Una mostra del Settecento veneziano a Detroit." Arte veneta 7 (1953), p. 61, dates it to the early 1750s and compares it with the version in the National Gallery, London.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), ill. p. 40.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. "Note alla mostra dei Guardi." Arte veneta 19 (1965), p. 230, dates it about 1760.
Maurizio Bonicatti. "Il problema dei rapporti fra Domenico e Giovanbattista Tiepolo." Celebrazioni tiepolesche: atti del Congresso internazionale di studi sul Tiepolo con un'appendice sulla mostra. Ed. Elettra Quargnal. [Milan], , p. 32, fig. 20 (detail), calls the figure in the lower right corner a self-portrait.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 96, 493, 608.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, pp. 31–32, pl. 34, date it to the 1750s and state that "the composition is undoubtedly based on one or more prototypes by Canaletto"; mention the version in the National Gallery, London, and another in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo; note that the present location of the pendant from the Castletown collection is unknown.
Antonio Morassi. Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi. Venice, [1973?], vol. 1, p. 370, no. 317; vol. 2, figs. 343–44 (overall and detail), states that a copy was sold at Weinmüller, Munich, March 15, 1967, no. 1403, as by Guardi.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1974, pp. 93–94, no. 77, ill.
Deborah Krohn et al. inFrom El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum. Athens, 1992, p. 308, no. 33, ill. (color, overall and detail) [catalogue section unpaginated].
Guardi painted several versions of this composition, including pictures in the National Gallery, London, and the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.
While this picture was in the collection of the Castletown family it had a pendant depicting the Piazzetta (current whereabouts unknown).
Morassi [see Ref. 1973] states that a copy of this painting was sold at Weinmüller, Munich, March 15, 1967, no. 1403, as by Guardi.