This work is inspired by Canaletto’s painting A Regatta on the Grand Canal (Windsor Castle, Windsor) from the early 1730s, whose engraving, by Antonio Visentini in 1742, became extremely popular. In Guardi’s work the perspective is also deeper, the point of view more withdrawn and the horizon lower, aspects reflected in a sky that is almost twice the size and magnificently atmospheric. The livelier treatment of the subject is also extended to the execution of the small restless figures that fill the scene and play an active role in it.
The painting depicts the Grand Canal seen from Ca’Foscari during a regatta. The artist conceives the space in depth from the tribune near the Balbi Palace to the Rialto Bridge on the limit of the horizon. The macchina can be made out on the left, a floating pavilion where the winners received their prizes. The rich decoration of the fabrics on the balconies and the boats decorated with branches, standards and marine divinities, suggest joy and movement in the Rococo style.
Robert Dundas Haldane-Duncan, 1st Earl of Camperdown; Adam Haldane-Duncan, 2nd Earl of Camperdown, 1859–67; Lady Julia Duncan, Baroness Abercromby, 1867–1915; Georgina Wilhelmina Mercer-Henderson, Countess of Buckinghamshire. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Christie’s, London, 8 March 1919.
H. 61 cm; W. 91 cm
Rodolfo Palluchini, Colecção Calouste Gulbenkian. Francesco Guardi. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 1965, no. 4.
Antonio Morassi, Guardi. L’Opera completa di Antonio e Francesco Guardi. Venice: Alfieri, 1973, vol. I, pp. 199, 202, 366–7, no. 299.
Michelangelo Muraro, Os Guardi da Colecção C. Gulbenkian / The Guardi Paintings of the C. Gulbenkian Collection. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 1993, pp. 36–9, no. 9.
Luísa Sampaio, Painting in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon/Milan: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum/Skira, 2009, pp. 138–9, cat. 59.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2011, p. 157, cat. 133.
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