Francesco Guardi - Venice: Piazza San Marco [c.1760]

The painting is one of the earliest of Guardi's works as a view painter, probably dating from about 1760. It shows the most famous of Venetian squares, the Piazza San Marco, with the medieval cathedral and its bell tower in the background and the 16th-century public offices, the Procuratie Vecchie, left, and the Procuratie Nuove, right, with shops and cafés to each side. In Guardi's painting figures and architecture are more freely handled than was customary with Canaletto, and the crowd that idles in the Piazza is given greater prominence.

[Oil on canvas, 72.4 x 119.1 cm]