OIL PAINTING: Ladies Concert at the Philharmonic Hall, 1782
This is one of Guardi's masterpieces. Because it depicts an event that actually took place we can date it with accuracy. It therefore provides an essential reference point for the whole of Guardi's oeuvre. The scene was, in fact, one of a number from a cycle that has since been scattered. It shows the celebration organized in honour of the Russian "Counts of the North" who visited Venice in 1782. This canvas shows the famous chorus of orphan girls assembled from the Conservatorio della Pieta, one of the most famous vocal and instrumental ensembles in the whole of Europe. During the first half of the century the Pieta's all-female orchestra had been conducted by Antonio Vivaldi and had reached a pinnacle of excellence in its performances, impressing the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau among other foreign visitors.