Rachel Spence reviews an exhibition of paintings by Francesco Guardi at Museo Correr, Venice, on view through January 6, 2012.
Spence writes: "Both [Canaletto and Guardi] employed a camera obscura to obtain the topographical precision which was the signature of Venetian view-painting. But Canaletto used the projections – frequently embellished with fantasy in the style of a latter-day digital snapper – to create a city of crisp, crystalline drama: imperious, monumental and spectacular. Guardi, on the other hand, softened Venice’s architectural contours and seduced tonal extravaganzas out of its seas and skies. His Serenissima is moody, ephemeral and exotic, as much oriental fishing village as Old World cultural jewel. Only Turner better embodied Byron’s description of a city where 'structures rise, as from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand'."