Capriccio with Ruined Arches, a Dome in the Background

Oil on canvas painting by Francesco Guardi, in capriccio style (composition in a free, regular style). Predominent color brown. Image of ruins with two arches at center, domed building in background. Figure under arch and two more in lower left area. Morassi calls this spirited Capriccio a "buon esemplare, dell'epoca tarda," and compares it to a painting formerly in the Fauchier Magnan collection, Paris (Guardi cat. no. 948). There is also a larger version of this composition in the Fondation Gulbenkian, Lisbon (Guardi cat. no. 934), while a drawing, formerly in the Talleyrand collection, Paris, is also closely related. The Capricco are especially prevalent in Guardi's later career, and are perhaps his most individual and freely-painted expressions. As J. Byam Shaw wrote, "it was in the Capriccio that Guardi, more than Canaletto found the type of subject which, I fancy, pleased him most;... If I were asked to guess what picture or drawing might have been Guardi's favorite among his own work, I would choose some small Capriccio, in which the subject is suited to his own spirit and his own technique." J. Byam Shaw distinguishes between several different types of Capricci in Guardi's oeuvre. This painting fits into the category of "romantic Capriccio," a type that is especially dominant in his later work. The luminosity of the landscape and the lively brush work of the painting reveal some of the artist's most individual and attractive qualities. Provenance: Versailles, Auction, July 1962
Back to NSAF Item
    Scroll to Zoom