This previously unpublished painting is listed in the inventory of the artworks taken over from Intesa Leasing in 1999. The details of its previous history are unknown.
The attribution to Francesco Battaglioli appears wholly acceptable. The artist, who was probably born in Modena but moved to Venice at an early age, is recognisable by virtue of his characteristic style, far closer to the subjective, dramatic approach of Francesco Guardi than the clear-cut, analytical models of the great view painters of the day, especially Canaletto and Bellotto. Esteemed by contemporaries, the artist is documented as active in Venice from 1747 to 1751. In 1754 he was summoned to the court of Ferdinand IV in Madrid, where he devoted himself mainly to scenery painting, often in collaboration with the famous soprano Farinelli. He returned to Venice in 1759, became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts and succeeded Visentini as professor of perspective in 1778.
The canvas presents the Rialto Bridge as seen from the Grand Canal looking towards the Ca’ d’Oro, an unusual angle that eschews the full view of the majestic structure as often shown in the traditional works. A similar viewpoint is adopted in a painting by Canaletto dated 1725 and belonging to the Agnelli Foundation in Turin, a work of unquestionably superior quality to which Battaglioli would appear indebted for the rendering of atmosphere.
The View of the Piazzetta in the Crocker Art Museum of Sacramento, California, resembles the Cariplo painting in terms of stylistic definition, above all in the depiction of the figures and monuments.
The painting can be attributed chronologically to the last phase of the Battaglioli’s production after his definitive return to Venice, between the seventh and ninth decades of the 18th century.