Showing posts with label Pietro Longhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pietro Longhi. Show all posts

5 October 2016

Francesco Guardi - painter

Artist evoked image of republic’s final years

A portrait of Guardi by his contemporary, Pietro Longhi
A portrait of Guardi by his
contemporary, Pietro Longhi
One of the last great artists of the Venetian school, Francesco Lazzaro Guardi, was born on this day in 1712 in Venice.

Guardi’s wonderful scenes of crowds, festivals, regattas and concerts in Venice have kept the heyday of the republic alive for future generations to enjoy in art galleries all over the world.

The artist was born into a family of nobility from Trentino, who lived in a house in the Cannaregio district of Venice.

Guardi’s father and brothers were also painters and his sister, Maria Cecilia, married the great Venetian artist, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

Guardi’s first known works were painted in the 1730s in Vigo Anuania in Trentino, where he was working alongside his older brother, Gian Antonio.

Guardi's painting of the Doge's state barge, the Bucintoro, near  the Riva di Sant'Elena, which is housed at the Louvre in Paris
Guardi's painting of the Doge's state barge, the Bucintoro, near
 the Riva di Sant'Elena, which is housed at the Louvre in Paris
The first work to be signed by Guardi is the picture Saint Adoring the Eucharist, which was painted in about 1739.

Guardi seemed equally comfortable painting landscapes or figures, but his early views of Venice show the influence of Canaletto on his style.

In 1757 Guardi married Maria Mattea Pagani, the daughter of another painter, Matteo Pagani.

One of his most important works was The Doge’s Feasts, a series of 12 canvases commissioned to celebrate the ceremonies held in 1763 for the election of Doge Alvise IV Mocenigo.

Guardi was also commissioned by the Venetian authorities to paint six canvases to celebrate the visit of Russian Archdukes to the city, of which only two remain.

This view of St Mark's Square is among the Guardi works
that can be seen at Accademia Carrara in Bergamo
The Academia Carrara in Bergamo has some fine examples of Guardi’s paintings in its collection, such as the Friars’ Cloister, the  Façade of Palace with Staircase and some wonderful views of Venice.

As Guardi grew older his style became noticeably different from that of Canaletto, who focused on the glamour of Venice, often showing it in bright sunshine.

Guardi often painted cloudy skies above the city at dusk, accurately conveying the mood and atmosphere of each scene. Some of his paintings evoke the onset of the decline of Venice’s empire, such as his landscape, Fire in the Oil Depot in San Marcuola, which was painted in 1789.

Guardi died in Cannaregio in 1793 at the age of 80, four years before the end of the Republic of Venice.

The house in Campiello della Madonna, a small square in Cannaregio, where Guardi lived for much of his life
The house in Campiello della Madonna, a small square in
Cannaregio, where Guardi lived for much of his life
Travel tip:

Cannaregio, where Guardi was born and died, is a peaceful quarter of Venice, with crumbling, shuttered houses and little shops and bars that are still patronised by Venetians. Among the architectural masterpieces of the area are the Gothic church of Madonna dell’Orto and the early Renaissance church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

Travel tip:

Bergamo’s Accademia Carrara has a fine collection of paintings by Guardi including views of L’Isola di San Giorgio, Il Rio dei Mendicanti, Il Ponte di Rialto and Piazza San Marco. The Accademia Carrara is housed in a magnificent palace just outside Bergamo’s Città Alta, built in the 18th century to house one of the richest private collections in Italy. It is the only Italian museum to be entirely stocked with donations and bequests from private collectors. Visitors can view works by the masters of the Venetian, Lombard and Tuscan Renaissances as well as the great artists who came later, such as Guardi, Lotto, Titian, Moroni, Rubens, Tiepolo and Canaletto. For more details visit

(Photo of Guardi's house by Didier Descouens CC BY-SA 4.0)

More reading:

Tiepolo: 'greatest decorative artist of 18th century Europe'

Titian - giant of Renaissance art

How Pietro Longhi captured everyday life in 18th century Venice

Tintoretto - the dyer's son whose work still adorns Venice


5 November 2015

Pietro Longhi - painter

Painter who allowed us to see inside 18th century Venice

The painter Pietro Longhi, who was renowned for his accurate scenes of every day life in Venice in the 18th century, was born on this day in 1702.

The Correr Museum can be found in
Piazza San Marco
Longhi was originally called Pietro Falca and was the son of a silversmith in Venice, but he changed his name after he began painting.

He started with historical and religious scenes but his work evolved after a stay in Bologna where he encountered Giuseppe Maria Crespi, who was considered one of the greatest Italian painters at the time.

Longhi’s son Alessandro later wrote that his father had a ‘brilliant and bizarre spirit’, which led him to accurately paint people in conversation and show us the love and jealousy going on in the background.

His paintings vividly depict Venetian life and show wonderful details of the clothes and possessions of the upper and middle classes.

For example, Longhi’s painting of The Hairdresser and the Lady, which is in the Correr Museum in Venice, shows a wealthy Venetian lady having her hair dressed by a man, while a maid stands to one side holding a child.

Longhi faithfully shows us how the clothing of each subject reflects the rank of the person wearing it and allows us to see the various objects scattered on the lady’s dressing table.

In The Duck Hunt, which is in the museum of Palazzo Querini Stampalia in Venice, Longhi depicts an archer in a smart coat and powdered wig being rowed out on the lagoon by people in their work clothes.

Longhi's The Charlatan is one of many
scenes depicting Venice's ridotti
He also painted many scenes of masked couples gambling or flirting in ridotti, the gaming salons that were popular in Venice at the time, allowing us to see the behaviour that went on.  The Charlatan, which is kept in the Ca' Rezzonico museum in Venice, is one such scene.

Longhi died in Venice in 1785. He has been compared to his English contemporary William Hogarth but his paintings are ironic rather than satirical and he shows us a more cheerful, prosperous society than the one painted by Hogarth.

While the great Canaletto has allowed us to see what Venice looked like on the outside in the 18th century, Longhi gives us the chance to see what went on indoors.

The Museo Correr occupies the upper floors at the southern end of the Piazza San Marco
The Museo Correr occupies the upper floors
at the southern end of the Piazza San Marco
Travel Tip:

The Correr Museum (Museo Correr) is in St Mark’s Square, Venice and is a great place to learn about the art and history of Venice. The museum, which occupies the upper floors of the Procuratorie Nuove at the southern end of the square, originated with the collection bequeathed to the city in 1830 by Teodoro Correr, from a noble Venetian family, who had dedicated most of his life to collecting works of art and documents or individual objects that reflected the history of Venice. Correr also left funds to be used in conserving and extending the collections and in making them available to the public. Other pieces have since been given to the museum by other wealthy Venetians. It is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

The church of Santa Maria Formosa is close to the palazzo
The church of Santa Maria
Formosa is close to the palazzo
Travel Tip:

The Museum of the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Venice contains several paintings by Pietro Longhi, as well as works by Bellini and Tiepolo, in the beautiful setting of a Venetian palazzo close to Campo Santa Maria Formosa in Castello.  Founded founded in 1869 at the behest of  Count Giovanni Querini, the last descendent of the Querini family, it was designed by architect Carlo Scarpa, who  designed the interior and exterior of the palace. The Foundation is open to the public for academic research.

Also on this day: