A Venetian Capriccio

Francesco Guardi (Italian, 1712-1793)
c. 1775
Oil on canvas 
20-5/8 x 15-1/8 in. (52.4 x 38.4 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

Guardi's "capricci" - that is, imaginary views or architectural fantasies, are charming improvisations described in an almost sketch-like manner. This example originally belonged to Angelo Querini, the last Venetian ambassador to France in the 1790s. It embodies the decorative and picturesque effect that gained widespread popularity in the eighteenth century. Here the intimate scale, light palette, and imaginative arrangements of architecture and figures stand in sharp contrast to the precision and detail of Guardi's famous predecessor, Canaletto. In this regard the painting belongs fully to the rococo aesthetic.


Angelo Guerini (1721-1796), the last Venetian Ambassador to France in the 1790s.
Walter Goetz, sold by c. 1981 to;
[E.V. Thaw & Co., New York, offered c. November 1981 and subsequently sold 21 January 1982 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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