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A Venetian Capriccio

A Venetian Capriccio, c. 1775

Francesco Guardi
Italian, 1712-1793
Oil on canvas
20-5/8 x 15-1/8 in. (52.4 x 38.4 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© 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.

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