Monday, March 9, 2020

Guglielmo Ciardi: Mostly Venice Scenes

Guglielmo Ciardi (1842-1917) was Venice-born and spent most of his career there busily painting scenes of the city's canals and the adjacent lagoon. When taking a break from that, he made mountain scenes of the nearby Alps. His Wikipedia entry is brief, and a quick Google search revealed little more.

Ciardi's paintings are well made and pleasant to view. His subject matter and treatment of it -- especially the lagoon scenes -- are repetitious. But that's the groove most commercially successful artists follow: first create a viable visual "brand" and then use it to gain further sales and bread on the family table.

The lagoon is obviously flat, and so it the nearby countryside, so I find it interesting seeing how Ciardi dealt with the placement of the horizon line in his images. A modern tourist using a camera or cell phone tends to show mostly sky when photographing that sort of setting. Unless clouds and other sky features are the real subject matter, the wise photographer or artist will try to include as much foreground as possible while maintaining an attractive composition.


Vele in Laguna - 1880
The tourist zone of Venice is visible in the distance, while the subject is boats with large, triangular, orange sails.

A Sailing Boat on the Canale della Giudecca - 1881
More of a study or perhaps a technique experiment -- but he did sign this.

Lagoon scene
More orange sails.

Laguna a San Giorgio
Here we are, closer to the Campanile, and the brushwork is "painterly" again.

View of St Mark’s Basin with the Punta Della Dogana
Still more orange sails, but the brushwork is more polished. It's possible, even likely, that the brushwork variations are related to when these images were painted. Unfortunately, their dates are not available.

Afternoon on a Venetian Canal

Venice canal scene
Skillful contrasting of simple and complicated areas.

Grand Canal from the Rialto bridge
Ciardi seemingly seldom included close-up views of people, such as we find here.

Conca di Sappada con le Terze - 1897
Finally, a signed sketch of a mountain scene.

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