Marieschi and Antonio Canal (Canaletto," 1697-1768) were the foremost painters of Venetian views in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. Although early death restricted his output, Marieschi's reputation has grown as the qualities of his manner have become recognized. The Art Institute's Marieschi, with its remarkably wide perspective, is also notable for the equilibrium between the imposing architecture on the bank of the Grand Canal and the imaginary scenes of everyday life depicted on the near shore.
Marieschi seldom painted the human figures in his works; here, he is believed to have entrusted them to Gianantonio Guardi (1699-1760), the elder brother of the famous view painter Francesco Guardi (several of whose works are exhibited nearby). The figures in this painting wear masks and are dressed for a festive event-even the gondoliers are in fancy dress.
A trained architect, Marieschi reached uncanny exactitude in his renderings of architecture with the aid of a camera obscura, an optical device that projects an almost photographic image. Marieschi's experience as a designer of theatrical scenery is evident, as the buildings appear to constitute a backdrop for the activities in the foreground.
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