Description of the picture:
Building fantasy – Francesco Guardi. 1770-1780.
As a professional “Vedut” master, Guardi gained recognition exclusively in the era of the Impressionists, while other painters who used this technique used recognition in life. But Guardi’s work is in no way inferior to the most famous canvases of those times. A striking example of his undisputed talent is one of his paintings on the topic of building fantasies.
The presentation of the image is immediately impressive in this canvas – it creates a feeling that the viewer sees the area through the eyes of the artist himself. Through a bulky stone arch, we can monitor a stable and measured life in the town. A light shadow reigns on our side, and the sun shines brightly behind the arch, throwing precise shadows on objects and the surrounding building elements. Shadow lines emphasize and highlight details, make them more embossed and expressive.
Behind a huge arch lies a whole world. High steps are visible in the distance leading to a luxurious portal. A palace or a huge church can be located behind it – the master leaves the audience the opportunity to figure out what exactly this building will turn out to be, because the picture is the artist’s fantasy showing us a fictional city.
The area behind the arch is blocked by another building with a richly decorated facade. In it we can also see two symmetrical arches, beyond which you can see the exit to another part of the city. People stand and move in them, emphasizing space and visually increasing the area of the picture.
The arch itself also contains many expressive elements that emphasize its volume and height. These are tall and slender columns framing it, a large portal on the left, crowned with a relief figure made of stone, a window with a canopy and a tiny balcony above the entrance, an elegant glass lantern located on the right.
One part of the side space of the arch is open. This technique allowed to saturate the canvas with air, to make the image easier and more elegant. Otherwise, the view of the city through a massive arch would not be so impressive and vibrant.
The predominant color in the picture is the golden tones of the stone lit by the sun. Another color is the blue tone of the sky, which creates a special atmosphere on this canvas, deepens the space and makes it expressive and vibrant. Other paints are used in minimal quantities – these are separate reddish-ocher buildings and clothes of people doing their own thing under the arches, on the square and on the steps of a large structure.
This painting is the fruit of the creative imagination of a great master who possessed the gift to revive the faceless and silent stone walls."