Venetian 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.
In the 1750s, Francesco Guardi began to paint vedute (views, usually including architectural elements) in the manner of his great predecessor Canaletto. Guardi retained the scenic precision of the architectural canvases of Canaletto, but introduced a liveliness of line and color and a heightened mood of fantasy. The results, as in the dazzling Piazza San Marco Decorated for the Feast of the Ascension (1775?, Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon), were unsurpassed romantic evocations of Venice. With vivid, sketchy brushstrokes, Guardi peopled his cityscapes with grandiose processions and brightly costumed revelers, bathed in a shimmering, watery light presaging the effects achieved by the 19th-century impressionists.
Francesco Guardi was enormously prolific and his artwork is in many public collections in Italy, Britain and elsewhere.
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