Migliara Giovanni, View of the Doge’s Palace in Venice
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1,815; oil on canvas
cm. 34,7 x 45

Inventory: AH01507AFC
Provenance: Alessandria, Margherita Micheletti (in 1985)
Exibition: 2019, Torino, n. 69

This painting of Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace in Venice with the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance replicates Canaletto’s etching entitled The Proclamation Stone, as the fragment of a porphyry column in the Piazza where decrees were read was called. It had been  brought from Syria in 1256 following a Venetian military victory over the Genoese.

Migliara – who was assistant set designer to Gaspare Galliari – adds a theatrical touch to the 18th-century style of his models, characterised by meticulous depiction of the tiniest details. In fact, he introduces a portion of the Biblioteca Marciana in the righthand side of the picture so that the backlit buildings in the foreground act as the wings for the scene taking place in front of the Doge’s Palace in the square crowded with figures in 18th-century costume, with the hazy island in the distance as a backdrop.

The extraordinary success of Migliara’s Venetian views is evidenced by the numerous versions executed  from the 1810s on, first with invented additions – as in View of a Piazzetta in Venice in the Cariplo Collection – and later with a particularly sensitive atmospheric rendering and a realistic handling of figures during the third and fourth decades of the century. The artist became familar with Canaletto’s works through his autograph etchings and the album of engravings by Antonio Visentini, published in 1735 but reprinted several times during the 19th century. Migliara drew on this repertoire for his own models for the work in the Collection as well as many other paintings including The Church of the Salute in Venice (Bassano del Grappa, Museo Civico) and  Piazza dei SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice, 1828, documented as being in the Peloso Collection in Novi Ligure.

Even after his stays in Venice between 1827 and 1835, during which he made numerous life studies, Migliara remained strongly attached to his source of inspiration, perhaps also to meet the demands of his clients. In fact, the subject of the work in the Collection was reprised in the painting Piazzetta San Marco in Venice with a View of the Island of San Giorgio, shown in the Esposizione de Belle Arti di Brera in 1835 – then owned by Count Kollowrat, the political rival of Prince Metternich at the Vienna court – and in the masterly large canvas, his final work, left unfinished at his untimely death in 1837, and entitled Piazza San Marco in Venice after a Storm (Brescia, Musei Civici d’Arte e Storia).

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d'arte. Atti d'acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/695


Paola Zatti, Giovanni Migliara. Veduta di Palazzo Ducale a Venezia, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 162, pp. 256-257, ill..;
Elena Lissoni, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. III.21, p. 185, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Giovanni Migliara. Viaggio in Italia, catalogo della mostra, Torino, Museo di Arti Decorative Accorsi - Ometto, 28 febbraio - 16 giugno 2019, Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2019, n. 69, p. 141, ill. p. 109

Elena Lissoni
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