• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 11973

    Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale

    7 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 43

    Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712-1793)

    The Church of San Cristoforo di Murano, Venice

    Price Realised  


    Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712-1793)
    The Church of San Cristoforo di Murano, Venice
    oil on panel
    7 ½ x 12 in. (19 x 30.4 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    This precise view, showing the island of San Cristoforo della Pace near Murano, was only treated on a handful of occasions by Guardi. The most comparable is a canvas of slightly larger dimensions (47.5 x 76.2 cm.), formerly with Agnew’s (A. Morassi, op. cit., I, no. 647; II, fig. 609), which Morassi dated to circa 1780; it is likely that the picture in question dates to the same period, with its poeticism and shimmering light typical of Guardi’s maturity. The façade of the church of San Cristoforo is seen from across the lagoon near the Fondamenta Nuove, with a scattering of figures on the promenade and a serene arrangement of boats in the water, each placed carefully to generate the impression of depth and distance.

    The present day view is considerably altered. In Guardi’s time, San Cristoforo was reserved for monastic use, with the convent run by the Order of Saint Augustine. But after the community was moved to Santo Stefano, both the church and convent on the island were demolished in 1810 to make way for a new cemetery in order to satisfy Napoleon’s decree that burials no longer take place in the city’s historic centre. The island of San Cristoforo then merged with San Michele, leaving the island as it appears today, with the cemetery becoming the resting place for many renowned figures.

    Special Notice

    These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. This VAT is not shown separately on the invoice. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.


    Mrs Arthur Byne, Madrid, 1911.
    Leonard Thomas, attaché of the United States Embassy in Madrid, 1911.
    with James St. L. O’Toole, New York, 1946, from whom purchased by the following,
    Dr. F. Altmann, New York, 1946, and by inheritance to his widow,
    Wilhelmina Altmann, by whom bequeathed to the following,
    Anonymous sale; Christie’s, New York, 25 May 1999, lot 145 ($320,000).


    A. Morassi, Guardi. I dipinti, Venice, 1984, I, p. 431, no. 649.