In Venice, Ascension Day is marked by a ceremony called the Wedding of the Sea, during which the Doge and his official procession drop a golden ring into the sea from the state barge, the Bucintoro. This festive event was a favourite of Venetian view painters such as Guardi, Canaletto, and Marieschi.
The present composition was painted many times by Francesco Guardi and is closest to a version in the Eliott-Cohen Collection, Newbury (A. Morassi, Antonio e Francesco Guardi, Venice, 1973, cat. no. 281, illustrated no. 312).