View of the Punta della Dogana and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute (Primary Title)
Santa Maria della Salute and Punta Dogana (Former Title)

Francesco Guardi, Italian, 1712 - 1793 (Artist)

ca. 1755-65
Oil on canvas
Unframed: 20 1/2 x 33 1/2 in. Framed: 29 x 42 x 2 3/4 in.

This splashy scene features two of Venice’s most extravagant waterfront buildings from the Baroque era: the Dogana da Mar (Customs House of the Sea) and the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (Saint Mary of Health). These edifices are situated on the easternmost point of the island of Dorsoduro, which extends along the southern bank of the Grand Canal, and each was distinctly important to Venetian identity during Guardi’s lifetime.

The Dogana da Mar, which occupies the triangular tip of Dorsoduro, was completed in 1682 to facilitate the city’s prospering commercial activities in global trade. Guardi’s idealizing depiction of the building surrounded by bustling maritime activity conceals the serious economic hardships then affecting the Republic of Venice.

Construction of the nearby church of La Salute began immediately after the merciful end of the terrible plague of 1629–31 that killed more than a third of the city’s population. Completed fifty years later, the majestic octagonal building with its distinctive double domes was the crowning achievement of architect Baldassare Longhena (1598–1682).

The Jordan and Thomas A. Saunders III Collection

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