(Venice 1712 - Venice 1793)
This exceptional view of the Piazza San Marco was hidden in a private collection
and remained unrecognised and unknown until its recent publication in the
catalogue of the major Francesco Guardi tercentenary exhibition at the Museo
Correr. It was until recently extended on three sides, an added strip at the
bottom bearing a monogram “AC” and the date 1764. That date may in fact be
accurate, the painting being closely related in style to the well-known, signed view of The Piazza San Marco looking South-East in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (A. Morassi, Guardi. L’opera completa di Antonio e Francesco Guardi, Venice, 1973, I, p. 371, no. 319; II, fig. 346). The added monogram indicates that this painting was sold in the nineteenth century as the work of Canaletto, and indeed, in its precision of detail it shows Guardi at his most Canalettesque.
Three variants are known:
The Earl of Harewood; sale, Christie’s, London, 21 June 1968, lot 43. 11 ¾ x 20 in. (31.5 x 50.7 cm.). Morassi no. 345, fig. 372.
Crespi Collection, Milan. 47 x 67 cm. Ie. of almost exactly the same dimensions as this painting. Morassi no. 347, fig. 373.
Anon. Sale, Christie’s, New York, 11 January 1991, lot 86. 33 x 50 ¼ in. (83.9 x 127.6 cm.). Part of a late set of four painted for Samuel Boddington.
In all of these the Campanile is cut by the upper edge. While the ex-Harewood painting, which also crops the view on both sides, may be of similar date, the other versions are unquestionably later.