• Old Master Paintings auction at Christies

    Sale 2710

    Old Master Paintings

    5 June 2013, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 75

    Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712-1793)

    The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, seen from the Bacino

    Price Realised  


    Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712-1793)
    The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, seen from the Bacino
    oil on canvas
    13½ x 17 5/8 in. (34.2 x 44.7 cm.)

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    In one of Guardi's most favored vedute, here the artist represents the island and monastery complex of San Giorgio Maggiore, seen from the west end of the Molo. The brilliant white Istrian stone of Andrea Palladio's classical façade shimmers against the cool water on the left side of the lagoon, pleasantly complemented by the warmer tonalities of the church's crossing and dome, which have acquired a pink hue in the evening light. To the right, the eastern end of the Giudecca is seen in the distance, bathed in whispers of a sunset. The stillness of the silvery water is enlivened by a bustle of activity in the foreground as men guide their gondolas and unfurl sails on their ships.

    In 1566, Palladio began his monumental program to renovate the Benedictine complex. A master of scenic staging, the architect rotated the orientation of the church so that its façade could optimally be viewed from the city itself. In fact, it is from this ideal viewpoint -- the conceptual and political heart of the Serenissima -- that Guardi chose to represent this vista.

    Morassi (loc. cit.) dates this painting to circa 1770-80, noting its similarity in scale and composition to the version in the Wallace Collection.


    Van Diemen collection, Berlin, 1930.
    Private collection, Paris.
    with Wildenstein & Co., Inc, New York.
    Henri E. Stehli and Lily Stehli Bonner; their sale, Parke-Berke, 30 November 1950, lot 11 ($6,750).

    Pre-Lot Text



    A. Morassi, Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi, Venice, 1973, I, p. 395, no. 448.
    J. Ingamells, The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Pictures. British, German, Italian, Spanish, London, 1985, p. 296.


    Moscow, Country Museum (according to a label on the reverse).