Federico del Campo (Peruvian, 1837-1927)
Federico del Campo (Peruvian, 1837-1927)

The Grand Canal, Venice

Federico del Campo (Peruvian, 1837-1927)
The Grand Canal, Venice
signed, inscribed and dated 'F del Campo/Venezia 1881' (lower left)
oil on canvas
18 x 27¾ in. (45.8 x 70.5 cm.)
with MacConnal-Mason & Son, London.
Private collection, England.
Thence by descent to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

Born in Lima, Peru in 1837, Federico del Campo studied in Madrid with Lorenzo Valles (1830-1910), an artist who worked in Italy. Del Campo exhibited a View of Venice in 1881 in Madrid and, since he had painted in Assisi several years before, it is clear that he had travelled extensively through Italy by this time.

Federico del Campo is without doubt the finest of the late 19th century Venetian scene painters, continuing a long and rich tradition of vedute artists dating back to the 17th century. These paintings were immensely popular at the time and del Campo was joined by Martin Rico y Ortega, Rubens Santoro and Franz Richard Unterberger in focusing his oeuvre on capturing the effects of sunlight on water and architecture in Venice.

Del Campo is clearly the leader of this group and his paintings are notable for their crystalline atmosphere, in which the buildings of Venice are set against a dazzling bright blue sea and sky. His work is executed with great technical precision through the application of short, fine brushstrokes and delicate glazes which give the surface of his paintings a shimmering and luminous quality.

In The Grand Canal, Venice the scene is populated by a distinctive cross-section of Venetian culture: two working women are seated at rest on the low stairs at the right edge of the painting while in counterpoint, two elegantly-dressed ladies protected by their parasols step carefully into a gondola nearby. The gondoliers slowly work their way through the canal, and sunlight illuminates the brightly- striped awnings and bright red curtains in the windows overlooking the canal, punctuating the architecture with splashes of color. With his extraordinary technical skill and a perfect understanding of perspective, del Campo knits together many individual vignettes and set off against the azure sky water, this sparkling snapshot of daily life in Venice establishes del Campo as one of the city's most dedicated and talented devotés.

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