OIL PAINTING: Capriccio with Venetian Motifs, 1760
Beyond a single column of a ruined portico the spectator looks out upon a large, free-standing house in a landscape reminiscent of the Lagoon. To the left behind the overgrown ruin two other houses can be seen. The right side of the image offers a view of a broad expanse of water with a number of sailing boats, a tower and several undefined buildings in the background. Only a few figures enliven the representation.
Guardi based the composition of his caprice on one of Canaletto's etchings, but as usual, his version of the etching was an extremely free adaptation. He borrowed several motifs and omitted others. The etching in question (private collection) shows a landscape with three arches of an arcade in the foreground, behind which a country house and the ruins of Roman monuments can be seen. Guardi has taken the portico, which Canaletto showed intact, but reduced it to a dilapidated fragment; furthermore he has transformed the rectangular forms of the characteristic house in Canaletto's etching into a much less stately, asymmetrical building with a slanted roof.