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Pen and brown ink
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 25.9 x 36.8 cm (10 3/16 x 14 1/2 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1955.164.b
Before entering the museum's collection, this sheet may have been cut on the left, possibly to eliminate a sixth carriage that does not appear in Guardi’s other representations of the procession.
This drawing records a grand procession through Venice's Piazza San Marco on the penultimate day of the 1782 celebrations for the visit of the Russian Grand Duke Paul (Pavel) Petrovitch and his wife Maria Feodorovna. Francesco Guardi was likely commissioned by the Venetian state to document the ducal visit. Drawing from the vantage point of the Procuratie Nuove (a palace on one side of the piazza), Guardi sketched five carriages festooned with allegories, which were meant to celebrate the governments of Catherine the Great and Venice. In order to include as much of the procession as possible, he manipulated the perspective of the buildings on the right side of the square.The loose handling and lively immediacy of the pen work suggests he executed it on the spot. One drawing (Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin) and two oil paintings (private collections, Venice and Milan) of the same scene survive. Cleveland’s sheet likely preceded these more detailed and polished compositions.
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