Francesco Guardi (Italian, Venice 1712–1793 Venice)
Oil on canvas
13 3/8 x 20 in. (34 x 50.8 cm)
Bequest of Lore Heinemann, in memory of her husband, Dr. Rudolf J. Heinemann, 1996
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619
A pendant to the painting of the Ridotto, this view shows Venetian officials and petitioners outside the principal council chamber of the Doge’s Palace. The space has been telescoped but otherwise is accurately depicted.
The Venetian views and imaginary lagoon subjects for which Francesco Guardi is justly famous have for long been well represented in the Metropolitan Museum. The artist also painted a few interiors, which are of a sort more commonly associated with his near-contemporary Pietro Longhi (1702–1785), by whom he was probably influenced. This small picture is one of a pair (see also 1997.117.5) and both are exceptionally scenographic and informative about Venetian public life.
The Sala del Maggior Consiglio at Palazzo Ducale is the largest public space in Venice and one of the largest in western Europe. There, hundreds of the the roughly 2,000 members of the aristocracy eligible to participate in the government of the republic met in assembly. The antechamber shown in the present small painting is the Liagò, an L-shaped room whose long side runs beside the council chamber and whose short side, with two huge Gothic windows, fronts on St. Mark’s basin. The room, with its marble door frames and high beamed and painted ceiling, is little changed and can still be visited. Guardi telescoped the space but otherwise represented it accurately. Long robes and flowing wigs designate public officials, while petitioners and other visitors are in street dress, some with swords, and wearing white silk stockings, black hair ribbons, and black tricorne hats. The composition exists in a larger version (private collection), with some differences in the dress and scale of the figures (see Morassi 1973, vol. 1, p. 353, no. 238; vol. 2, figs. 260–61). The larger version is also signed, on the base of the column at left, and may be earlier in date, perhaps from the 1750s.
[Katharine Baetjer 2011]
Inscription: Signed (left, on base of column): F.co G.di
Christopher Bushell, Hinderton Hall, Neston, Cheshire (until 1906; his estate sale, Christie's, London, March 17, 1906, no. 25, as "An Ante-Room in a Palace, with senators and other figures," 12 1/2 x 19 1/2 in., for £262.10 to Colnaghi); [Colnaghi, London, 1906]; Maurice Kann, Paris [with pendant, which shares ex coll. history until March 17, 1906, and from this date] (d. 1906); his nephew, Edouard Kann, Paris (1906–10; sold to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, Paris, 1910–24; sold to Rothschild]; baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris and Pregny, near Geneva (1924–52; sold to Rosenberg & Stiebel); [Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, 1952–58/59; sold to Heinemann]; [Rudolf J. Heinemann, New York, 1958/59–d. 1975]; Mrs. Rudolf J. Heinemann, New York (1975–96)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.
George A. Simonson. "Guardi and Longhi." Burlington Magazine 10 (October 1906), pp. 53–54, mentions this picture and its pendant (1997.117.5), in the Kann collection, as from the Piot collection, Paris, and dates them towards 1760.
George A. Simonson. "La mascherata al Ridotto in Venezia di Francesco Guardi." L'arte 10 (1907), pp. 243, 245.
Louis Gillet. "La Collection Maurice Kann [part 2]." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 26 (December 1909), p. 429, as Guardi interiors in the collection of the late Maurice Kann.
Antonio Morassi. "Novità su Francesco Guardi." Arte veneta 13–14 (1959–60), pp. 167–69, ill. (overall and detail), notes that the "Anticamera" is signed "Fran. Guardi" and that both are datable not later than 1765–70.
Egidio Martini. La pittura veneziana del Settecento. Venice, 1964, p. 280 n. 273, notes that the larger version of the subject (Pesenti collection) preceded this one.
Pietro Zampetti. Mostra dei Guardi. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi. Venice, 1965, p. 166, no. 85, ill. (overall and detail), as a later replica of the painting in the Pesenti (formerly Crespi) collection.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. "Note alla mostra dei Guardi." Arte veneta 19 (1965), p. 231, compares the figures in both works to those in a view of Piazza San Marco at Stockholm and dates them about the time of the series of "Solennità dogali"; calls this painting a replica of the one in the Pesenti collection.
Giuseppe Fiocco. Guardi. Milan, 1965, p. 42, colorpl. 33.
Michelangelo Muraro. "Asterischi Guardeschi." Problemi Guardeschi: Atti del convengno di studi promosso dalla mostra dei Guardi, Venezia. Venice, 1967, p. 164, tentatively ascribes the pendants to "Giacomo il falsificatore," Francesco's son.
Antonio Morassi. Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi. Venice, [1973?], vol. 1, pp. 163–64, 352–53, no. 237, ill., vol. 2, pl. 259, dates them beween 1750 and 1760, the Pesenti picture being earlier.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1974, pp. 95, 102, no. 107, ill.
Filippo Pedrocco and Federico Montecuccoli degli Erri. Antonio Guardi. Milan, 1992, p. 150.
Dario Succi. Francesco Guardi: itinerario dell'avventura artistica. [Milan], 1993, p. 223, ill. p. 230.
Katharine Baetjer in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1996–1997." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 55 (Fall 1997), pp. 44–45, ill. (color).