Piazza di San Marco, Maurice Brazil Prendergast  (American, St. John’s, Newfoundland 1858–1924 New York), Watercolor and graphite on off-white wove paper, American

Piazza di San Marco

Artist:
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, St. John’s, Newfoundland 1858–1924 New York)
Date:
ca. 1898–99
Culture:
American
Medium:
Watercolor and graphite on off-white wove paper
Dimensions:
16 11/16 x 15 3/8 in. (42.4 x 39.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Estate of Mrs. Edward Robinson, 1952
Accession Number:
52.126.6
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 773
Prendergast’s first visit (of two) to Venice was financed by his Boston patron Sarah Choate Sears. About a year into his eighteen-month stay, he wrote to his brother, the painter Charles Prendergast, "It has been the visit of my life. I have been here almost a year and have seen so many beautiful things." His time in Venice inspired some of his most successful and dynamic watercolors. Here, Prendergast depicts an unusual prospect of the Piazza di San Marco, the city’s most distinctive tourist site and the center of Venetian life. Within the square composition, space is compressed and the scale is striking—three Italian flags dominate the foreground, while San Marco’s iconic tower is truncated in the background. Diminutive figures dot the piazza below, and at left the space expands with a view of the distant lagoon.
Inscription: [at lower left in graphite]: Prendergast
[on back at center in graphite]: #1