Lucca, 1701-Venice, 1783

View of piazza San Marco and View of the doge’s palace from St. Mark’s basin

dated: third quarter of the 18th century

oil on canvas, cm 32×52


The two small landscapes depict two famous views of the city of Venice painted innumerable times during the 18th century.

During the eighteenth century, in fact, Grand Tours became increasingly frequent and with them the demand for works depicting the most characteristic and picturesque corners of the lagoon city. Various artists devoted themselves to this task, most of them came from the world of theatre. With regards to our two small views, a scarce fidelity to the model allow to imagine that they were produced by an artist who might never have been to Venice. One of these is Gaetano Vetturali, a painter from Lucca, author of views painted from in his own imagination, others slightly invented and others inspired from engravings. Besides his somewhat naive tone, his paintings, such as ‘Riva di San Marco con i granai’ (The riverbank of San Marco with granaries) seem to portray the same curious tendency to transform round arches into ogival arches, sometimes almost triangular. This transformation is particularly evident in the Libreria Sansoviniana – which faces the Doge’s Palace on the left – but also in the arches of the church and on the right along the Procuratie Nuove building, in the landscape of Piazza San Marco.