Bragozzi in the Lagoon belongs to the artist's final group of Venetian pictures, begun on the spot in 1877 and finished at home in the following year.
As usual with pictures not destined for the Academy, one cannot rely on the artist's working notes to provide unequivocal identifications. His description of Two Bragozzi at anchor at Porto, certainly corresponds to the present lot. However in June 1878 Cooke had undertaken a picture entitled: Small stormy Venice subject, which he subsequently re-christened Stormy effect. Porto of Venice. The three pictures could well be one and the same.
The dramatic lighting is unusual within the context of Cooke's Venetian views. It demonstrates his awareness of the potential of meteorological change to provide variety to those subjects that he had been treating for over a quarter of a century. The fishing craft are painted with his usual satisfying fidelity. As John Ruskin commented of another Cooke composition: 'It is admirable true to the Venetian boat - and the Venetian boat and all the ways of it are beautiful'.
We are grateful to John Munday for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.