The Wallace Collection

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Capriccio with the Courtyard of the Doge's Palace
  • Francesco Guardi (1712 - 1793)
  • Capriccio with the Courtyard of the Doge's Palace
  • Italy
  • probably 1770s
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 38.6 x 28.9 cm
    Object size: 58.5 x 48.5 x 8.5 cm
  • P647
  • West Gallery I
Further Reading
  • P647 is a typical example of Guardi’s capriccio paintings – imaginary views, usually showing recognisable landmarks or architectural details in inventive or fantastical combinations, which were particularly popular in Venice in the 18th century. Generally, the view resembles that of the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, taken from the waterfront, and includes the monumental Giants’ Staircase and the adjoining Foscari arch. Other details, such as the statue at the top of the staircase, the fanciful façade beyond it and the overall scale of the courtyard represent imaginative alterations of behalf of the artist, which were designed to surprise and charm the viewer.

    Guardi painted several versions of this composition (for example in the National Gallery, London) and there are also several drawings relating to its development (for example in the Metropolitan Museum, New York). The present picture is thought to date from the late 1770s.