Fire in the quarter of San Marcuola, Francesco Guardi, 1789

Fire in the quarter of San Marcuola, Francesco Guardi, 1789
Fire in the quarter of San Marcuola, Francesco Guardi, 1789 - 1

  • Posted by Francesco Guardi
  • Museum: Academy Gallery
  • Year: 1789

Overview of the painting :

Fire in the quarter of San Marcuola – Francesco Guardi. 1789. Oil on canvas. 32×51

   The fire of oil depots on November 28, 1789 in the Venetian Ghetto is another alarming sign that foreshadowed the sunset of the great city. The seventy-eight-year-old artist, despite his malaise, nevertheless made full-scale sketches. One of them, located today at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, served as the basis for the painting “Fire in the San Marcouola Quarter” (the second drawing is at the Correr Museum in Venice).

   Flame, spread to houses adjacent to warehouses, highlighted the walls and roofs on which firefighters heroically try to confront him. The foreground is almost the entire horizontal indicated by the backs of onlookers and sympathizers. A hot palette of shades of reddish and golden flowers, so tangibly transmitting the heat of monstrous fire, breaks into the twilight flavor. The dynamic brush of Guardi with a living smear, moving to the canvas of erratic pores in the walls of the flame, becomes truly free, swift. The artist does not try to draw fire, he transfers its destructive, all-consuming essence. Such an embodiment of fiery fury, experiments in the field of color will meet only after several decades in the work of the English-romantic William Turner. The lessons of the Venetians will largely become the basis for artists, who prioritized color in the system of paintings.