Ciardi Guglielmo, Grand Canal

1,899 - 1,905; oil on canvas
cm. 55 x 100
Signed bottom left: “G. CIARDI VENEZIA”. On the stretcher, bottom right, in pastel: “15”
Inventory: AH01423AFC
Provenance: Milan, private collection (in 1983). Finarte, Milan, Auction 439, 21 April 1983

The painting is a smaller version of the piece exhibited with the title Grand Canal Evening in the 3rd Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia of 1899 and now known as Towards St. Mark’s (private collection), and was probably purchased on the occasion of the show by the then king of Italy and hung in the Royal Castle of Racconigi. For both works Ciardi chooses as his vantage point the Punta della Dogana at the confluence of the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Canal. The painter directs his gaze towards the Molo and the Piazzetta di San Marco. In the centre of the canvas, the last rays of sun graze the Doge’s Palace and the bell-tower rising up from the buildings along the Fondamenta, and various boats are moored in the foreground. The only difference between this work and the one shown in Venice is the more accentuated light effects, especially in the sky and in the reflections on the surface of the lagoon.

In this view of Venice, the artist returns to a subject that recurs in his landscape painting, but employs a lighter brushstroke than in his works of the last decades of the 19th century, as he strives for new and captivating atmospheric effects similar to the golden haze enveloping the Basilica of St. Mark, a painting exhibited in Venice in 1901 (Piacenza, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi). Similar subjects inspired several works from Ciardi’s mature period, such as Grand Canal (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna) and another view of Venice from the Rialto Bridge, which were shown in 1909 at the exhibition devoted to the artist in the ambit of the 8th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/606; Archivio Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Cariplo Iniziative Patrimoniali S.p.A., Fald. 2. Opere d’arte. Rapporti con Ministero Beni Culturali, fasc. Richiesta di chiarimenti da parte della Soprintendenza di Napoli sul dipinto di Guglielmo Ciardi “Canal Grande”


Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 439, Finarte, Milano, 1983, n. 218, p. 52, ill. p. 53 (Canal Grande);
Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 235, ill. n. 439 (Canal Grande);
Sergio Rebora, Guglielmo Ciardi, Sera – Canal Grande, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 59, pp. 132-134, ill. pp. 132-133;
Nico Stringa, a cura di, Guglielmo Ciardi. Catalogo generale dei dipinti, Regione del Veneto, Antiga Edizioni, Crocetta del Montello, 2007, n. 214, p. 244, ill. (Canal Grande, indicazione di collezione privata)

Laura Casone
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