Giacomo GuardiItalian, 1764-1835
Giacomo Guardi was born in Venice in 1764, and was the son of Francesco, and grandson of Domenico Guardi (1678 – 1716), who founded the family workshop of veduta painting in Venice, the golden age of Vedutismo being the art of painting Italian views of cities, towns, and villages, popular in the eighteenth century.
Giacomo Guardi was primarily a painter in gouache, only occasionally venturing into oil painting. Guardi approach to oil painting in a similar manner to painting with gouache or bodycolour, applying the pigment in as few layers as possible, which when translated into oils, gives the composition a loose and fluid finish. Guardi also employs methods such as scratching out, which is primarily associated with works on paper. Guardi’s interest in the contrast between light and shadow is evident throughout his oeuvre and gives his compositions a strong sense of form, compensating lesser embellished works. Although the architectural details in his gouaches, are bold and outlined in black ink, these details are mostly omitted in his oil paintings. Instead of appearing bland and featureless on account of this economy of colour and line, the architecture is dynamic and expressive, and the reflection of the buildings in the murky water is just hinted at in order to give the composition greater depth.
His paintings capture the picturesque beauty and atmospheric drama of Venice in an imaginative and distinctive fashion. Collectively, the Guardi family are often said to be the last true painters of the Venetian School in its classical form.