The Wallace Collection

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Venice: the Giovedi Grasso Festival in the Piazzetta
  • Studio of Canaletto (1697 - 1768)
  • Venice: the Giovedi Grasso Festival in the Piazzetta
  • Italy
  • c. 1741 - 1760
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 58.5 x 92.7 cm
    Object size: 85 x 119.5 x 10 cm
  • P500
  • West Gallery I
Further Reading
  • Since the late eighteenth century this picture, showing a view of the Giovedi Grasso, or Maundy Thursday festival in the Piazzetta, has been twinned with P496. During this festival, an elaborate stage was built in the Piazzetta, here shown bearing the arms of the Pisani family and of Pietro Grimani (Doge 1741-52). Rival teams of acrobats execute a human pyramid, while the ropes, stretching diagonally across the picture, enabled another acrobat to ‘fly’ from the Campanile to the Doge’s loggia. There he would recite verses in the Doge’s honour and present him with flowers. In the foreground, figures in commedia dell’ arte costume are seen mingling with onlookers and revellers wearing the carnival dress of the bauta, or white mask and black cape. Ten of Canaletto’s drawings for this series survive, but no original painted prototype by Canaletto is known.