Panorama of Venice from the Bacino di San Marco, Including the Project for the Proposed Teatro Manin
Francesco Guardi (Italian, Venice 1712–1793 Venice)
Pen and brown ink, gray wash, and a little body color
18 11/16 x 34 13/16 in. (47.5 x 88.5 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
This large panorama bearing a dedication to Ludovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, was probably intended for engraving, a fact which explains its relatively high degree of finish. The drawing was likely intended to mark the initiation of a theater (inserted at left center) in honor of the Doge. As history would have it, Teatro Manin was never built, and Ludovico Manin fared no better. On May 12, 1797, he surrendered the government of the Venetian Republic to the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte, ending a millennium of republican independence. On either side of the dedication tablet bearing the Doge’s coat of arms Guardi offers a key to the buildings with corresponding numbers in the drawing. Topographic exactitude was important in this instance as a context for the prominently sited theater to come.