The Piazza San Marco, Venice

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The Piazza San Marco, Venice about 1775 - 1780


The Piazza San Marco is dominated by the Basilica of San Marco with its domes and gleaming mosaics and the campanile (bell tower). Guardi may have used a camera ottica, an optical viewing box in which mirrors reflected the scene outside, to help with the dynamic perspective of the piazza. The buildings on either side are the old and new offices for the Venetian government: the Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove. Guardi used strong shadow and bright light to animate the scene and populated it with a variety of figures described with a few deft brushstrokes.

Glossary Open


The principle of representing depth on a flat surface so that items further away from the eye appear smaller and parallel lines appear to converge.



  • Acc. No. NG 2370
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 55.20 x 85.40 cm (framed: 76.20 x 105.41 x 10.48 cm)
  • Credit Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery 1978