This is a characteristic mature work by Carlevaris, the first of the major Venetian vedutisti of the eighteenth century, a high proportion of whose Venetian views are of the Piazzetta and the areas immediately adjacent to this. Like other topographical artists, Carlevaris was aware of the advantage of using buildings to 'frame' his compositions: in this picture the Piazzetta is framed on the left by the easternmost bay of the south facade of the Libreria, caught in the afternoon sun, and on the right by the angle bay of the Doge's Palace. The use of the steps to define the frontal plane of the composition seems to have been an invention of the artist, and is found in views of the Piazzetta in the Timken Museum of Art, San Diego (A. Rizzi, Luca Carlevarijs, Venice, 1967, fig. 139; see C. Beddington, exhibition catalogue, Luca Carlevarijs, San Diego, no. 10), formerly in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (ibid., figs. 137-8) and from the Ashburnham collection (sold in these Rooms, 13 December 2000, lot. 98).
The sailor on the steps in the centre is based on the oil study in the series in the Victoria and Albert Museum (no. P68-1938, Rizzi, no. 43): he also appears in the larger view of the Piazzetta from the south west sold at Christie's, New York, 29 January 1998, lot 94, in the San Diego picture, as well as in the Regatta in honour of King Frederick IV of Denmark, of 1711, in the J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles (Rizzi, figs. 39-40).