food in the arts


GUARDI, Francesco / ARTISTS 1650-1899/ ART MAIN film and food
(b. 1712, Venezia, d. 1793, Venezia) literature and food 
Italian painter, the best-known member of a family of artists. He is now famous for his views of Venice, indeed next to Canaletto he is the most celebrated view painter of the 18th century, but he produced work on a great variety of subjects and seems to have concentrated on views only after the death of his brother Gianantonio (1699-1760). Until then Francesco’s personality was largely submerged in the family studio, of which Gianantonio was head and which handled commissions of every kind.

The last of the great Venetian vedutisti, Francesco Guardi has achieved recognition only in the 20th century. In comparison to Canaletto and Bellotto, Guardi distinguished himself by a very liberal concept of the cityscape. He did not strive to represent each object accurately and minutely, choosing instead to emphasize the general mood and atmosphere of the scene. This holds true not only for his capriccios, but also for his cityscapes. This subjective approach held out little appeal for those who bought vedute in the eighteenth century, a substantial number of whom were foreigners and preferred the exact, almost photographic views of Canaletto and Bellotto. It was only much later that Guardi’s painterly qualities came to be valued.

Concerning the life of Francesco Guardi there is little documentation available. Most of the large number of paintings attributed to him can not be dated with certainty. There has accordingly been a good deal of speculation on questions of chronology and stylistic development in his work, one contentious area being the precise moment at which Francesco began painting veduta, and his motives for doing so. Given the fact that the first year Guardi’s name appears in the registers of the Venetian painters guild is 1761, it has been assumed that he took over the leadership of the family studio following the death of Gian Antonio the previous year, and that this period also witnessed his first incursions into the genre of cityscapes. It would appear more plausible that, alongside history pieces, Francesco also executed town views in his elder brother’s studio. Vedute by Guardi’s hand cannot, however, be dated before the second half of the 1750s.

Since the first monograph on Francesco Guardi in 1904, Guardi was thought to have been a pupil of Canaletto. Nowadays it is generally assumed that Guardi did not actually study with Canaletto, but only learned to paint vedute after the old masters death by imitating the latter’s works.
In the 1760s Guardi introduced the Venetian Lagoon as a theme in view painting. Lagoon views and capriccios based on them were to remain an important part of his work. In the same decade his style underwent a change that was primarily expressed in a new preference for stark contrasts of light and shade. Canaletto’s work would remain important to Guardi, however, as regards the subject-matter and composition of his town views. Guardi not infrequently took as his point of departure compositions or individual motifs from the paintings of Canaletto or from prints after his work.

Guardi produced his most personal work in the last twenty years of his life. Every attempt to reproduce the cityscape exactly has been abandoned. Linear perspective, that rules supreme in the work of Canaletto and above all that of Bellotto, has no more than a subordinate role with Guardi; depth is suggested by atmospheric effects. Despite the subjectivity of Guardi’s approach, his paintings, no less than those of the two older painters, are also illustrations of a Venetian reality. The city is admittedly not depicted with a view to accuracy, but through the use of transparent colour and through the nervous brushwork a shimmering atmosphere is reproduced, creating an authentic image of the specific mood and the unique character of Venice.

music and food

photography and food

Francesco Guardi  

Francesco guardi. chefs-d’oeuvre de l’art. grands peintres  

Guardi zu Lübeck. 31 aquarellierte Federzeichnungen und 8 abgeschriebene Aufsätze aus “das abenteuerliche Herz” von Ernst Jünger  

Catalogue of the Collection of Water-Colour Drawings of Richard Cumming … and a Collection of Pictures and Drawings by F. Guardi  

Canaletto: a discussion from the National Gallery Exhibition: 2010

Merchant of Venice (Classic Radio Theatre)

Merchant of Venice (Classic Radio Theatre)
The Grand Canal at the Fish Market (Pescheria)
c. 1765

Oil on canvas, 56 x 75 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The painting is the companion-piece of The Grand Canal, Looking toward the Rialto Bridge, also in the Brera.

Formerly considered an imitator of Canaletto, Guardi is actually a romantic interpreter of Canaletto’s "scientific" views. In his hands the crystalline geometry of buildings is dissolved in atmospheric colour. Guardi is a "virtuoso," like those eighteenth-century musicians who went from execution to interpretation, to variation, to improvisation, and sometimes even to creative invention. His variations, with respect to Canaletto, concern not only the technique of painting, but also the perspective framework.

The composition of this work is less rigidly constructed and less scientific, with a multiplicity of vanishing points that slow down and articulate the scene in more dramatic form. An outstanding passage is on the right where the shifting of the vanishing points creates a succession of images and conveys the sense of the canal’s turn.