The composition, looking across the slightly foreshortened Bacino di San Marco, had, until the appearance of this newly discovered work by Carlevrijs, been unknown in the artist's oeuvre. The view is represented in the work of Vanvitelli and Richter, but, in the previous absence of an example by Carlevarijs, had been thought to be a development of Vanvitelli's (see B. Aikema and B. de Klerck, 'Carlevarijs e l'arte nordica', in the catalogue of the exhibition, Luca Carlevarijs e la veduta veneziana del Settecento, Padua, Palazzo della Ragione, 25 September-26 December 1994, pp. 154-5).
Luca Carlevarijs was born at Udine, the son of a minor painter who died when he was a child, moving to Venice with his sister in 1679 when he was sixteen years old. Little is known of his life or work before he had reached the age of forty, but in 1703 he published Le Fabriche, e Vedute di Venetia, a set of 104 etchings which had an enormous success and influence, being used as a compositional sourcebook by Venetian view painters for several following decades. He himself first emerges as a painter of views in 1704, but by the end of the first decade of the century he had executed the masterpieces now at Birmingham, Schleissheim and Frederiksborg, in the J. Paul Getty Museum at Malibu and in the Lehman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. With works such as these he established in Venice a genre of painting which was to grow with the appetite of the market as the century progressed until it became the pre-eminent genre for which eighteenth-century Venetian painting is known. Carlevarijs was to remain the unrivalled master of Venetian vedutismo until the mid-1720s. By 1728, when progressive paralysis put an end to his career, it was clear to contemporaries that his successor had already appeared in the form of the young Canaletto.
Carlevarijs's novel interest in capturing the life of the city as well as its buildings is shown by the attention given to the figures. A surviving group of forty-nine oil studies of figures, themselves worked up from drawings, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. These drawings and studies were used by the artist throughout his career and some of the figures in the present paintings are taken from them (figs. a and b; see A. Rizzi, Luca Carlevarijs, Venice, 1967, bozzetti, and B. de Clerck, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Luca Carlevarijs e la veduta veneziana del Settecento, op. cit., pp. 293-4, figs. 103 and 107).