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Oil on canvas
Framed: 69.2 x 86.4 x 10.2 cm (27 1/4 x 34 x 4 in.); Unframed: 51.4 x 68.8 cm (20 1/4 x 27 1/16 in.)
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1949.187
From May 15-18, 1782, Pope Pius VI Braschi was in Venice, the only papal visit during the eighteenth century, an event celebrated with great festivities. Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), a native Venetian, was one of the most celebrated scenic painters of the eighteenth century, and specialized in depictions of cityscapes and the pomp and pageantry of Venetian ceremonial life. To celebrate the momentous occasion, the Englishman Peter Edwards commissioned four large scenes of the Pope's visit. The museum's two smaller paintings represent copies of the popular subject, which Guardi copied either for the open market or for other patrons. The Pontifical Ceremony (Te Deum) depicts the musical performance of Te Deum, a prayer of thanksgiving set to music by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), a famous Venetian Baroque composer. Te Deum was a traditional hymn recited in thanks to God for a special blessing, including a papal election or a royal coronation, and was appropriate for the historic papal visit. In the Reception of the Doge and Senate, the Doge, the elected prince of Venice, and Senators of the Venetian Republic process towards the throne, as the pope blesses the multitude of government leaders.
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