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Francesco Guardi (Italian, 1712-1793)


Also known as:  Fr. Guardi; François Guardi; Garde, Francesco; Gardi, Francesco; Gardis, Francesco; Gauda, Francesco; Guada, Francesco; Guarde, Francesco; Guardet, Francesco

Birth Place: Venice (Venezia province, Veneto, Italy)

Francesco Guardi was a Venetian view painter in the 18th century. He was born in 1712 and his father Domenico and brothers Gianantonio and Niccolo were also painters. Francesco worked alongside his brother Gianantonio who took over the family workshop after Domenico died in 1716. During this time he was painting landscapes and figurative work, but it is not always known which of the paintings from this time were created by him or his brothers. Likely they contributed to the work together. Francesco and his brothers were some of the last practitioners of the Venetian school of painting.

After the death of Gianantonio, Francesco turned to view painting or Veduta. Francesco’s early work shows heavy influence by Caneletto and he would go on to become the main painter of views of Venice after Caneletto. The Grand Canal with Palazzo Pesaro which is estimated to have been painted between 1755 and 1760 is a good example of his work in this time.

Later in life he pulls away from Caneletto and emphasized mood and tone of his scenes instead of rigid accuracy. He did not obtain success in his lifetime and died poor as most buyers of view paintings were tourists looking for a scene more like a photograph. In his painting “A Caprice with a Ruined Arch,” he imagines an arch on a Venetian landscape. During this time he paints many Capricci which are whimsical or imaginary scenes. His work gained attention in the 20th century, and he is widely celebrated by French Impressionists.

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