View of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore
Francesco Lazzaro Guardi
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Guardi's legacy of around six hundred surviving drawings comes from the last decade of his life. Most of them are what remained in the artist's studio at the time of his death. Predominantly the works belong to the category of Capriccio: combinations of real or imaginary buildings, ruins and landscapes arising from the author's imagination. The Venetians were always inclined to appreciate the creativity, artistry and wit of the "capriccio", which was a counterbalance to the familiar daily views of the hometown. The drawing 'View of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore' is executed in the brilliant, mature manner of Guarda. In the foreground are groups of boats and gondolas crossing the Grand Canal from the Riva degli Schiavoni. On the left, you can see the eastern side of the Giudecca with the church of Santa Maria della Presentazione, while in the background you can see the church and monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, painted in swift brushstrokes. The view of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore was one of the favourite motifs that the artist turned to during the 1770s and early 1780s. This group of works, which includes some thirty signed paintings and several dozen drawings, shows that Guardi used one standardised compositional type. All the works in this group were painted from virtually the same perspective along the Riva degli Schiavoni, possibly from the side of the facade of the Banco di San Marco. Supposedly, the painting from Lviv belongs to the period for which the entire group of works is dated. It should be noted that the drawing has no exact analogies among the paintings of Guardi. Given this, it can be argued that it was executed as an independent work of art.