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Piazza San Marco - Francesco Guardi. 91x61 cm
This picture is a typical Venetian “Veduta”, that is, a city landscape reflecting the everyday life of the city of that time. In the era when the master worked, many great artists worked in this genre, but the name of Guardi was not lost among them. Despite the fact that the canvases depicted similar cities and captured almost identical fragments of life, the brush of this master is well recognizable.
One of the many famous paintings by the artist is the image of the heart of Venice - Piazza San Marco. This picture immediately makes it clear to the viewer that in front of him is a work of a talented person. A clear and correct perspective, competent transfer of many large and small architectural details, as well as the highest level of ownership of paints - all this distinguishes Guardi's works from paintings by other Veduta masters.
On the canvas before us extends a large open area, paved with large, square slabs of light-colored stone. On both sides it is bounded by two massive dark buildings, as if consisting of several rows of identical arches. These buildings play the role of a kind of visual milestones, directing the views exactly into the distance - towards the closing square of St. Mark's Cathedral. This masterpiece of Byzantine architecture involuntarily attracts attention, but it immediately shifts to a belfry literally thrusting a needle into the sky as high as 100 meters. It seems that architecture plays a major role on this canvas.
But it is not so. A lot of human figures scattered throughout the square in bright and elegant clothes. This idle walking wealthy population of Venice came out to boast of its beauty and wealth. Above this motley crowd stretched a high sky with light fluffy clouds.
Straight lines of architecture are further emphasized by even strips of shadows cast on the square and people. But these shadows are not as dark and all-consuming as those of Caravaggio and not as significant and ambiguous as those of Leonardo da Vinci. For all their richness, they do not hide a single detail or character - even in the deepest shadow you can clearly see the figures of people.
Some downward bias fills the picture with air, without making space constrained by rigid architectural forms. Light colors in pleasant muffled tones contribute to ease of perception. Against their background, the bright colors of people's clothes seem to be literally explosions of color.