Francesco Guardi – National Museum Cardiff NMW A 29601. View of the Palazzo Loredan dell’Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice (c. 1775-1785)
Materials: oil on panel. Dimensions: 24.3 x 35.5 cm. Acquisition date: 2010. Nr.: NMW A 29601 Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/view-of-the-palazzo-loredan-dellambasciatore-on-the-grand-canal. I have changed the light, contrast and colors of the original photo.
Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 175 x 114 cm. Loan from the Earl of Plymouth. Source: Source: http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/ARTH/ARTH110/Exam2_2010%20Format.html
The landscape in this painting is not just a background, but is actually part of the story. It is a stage for a drama of death. Poussin has painted the idea of a far away time, where men wear togas and buildings featured statues. He frequently sketched the countryside around Rome, and he used what he had learnt to
portray this imaginary landscape of Classical Antiquity. The composition of this painting – the way the different parts have been put together – is carefully arranged. Lines are used to direct our eyes through and
around the picture. The white shroud and the shape of the body immediately draws the eye to the bottom of the painting, to the main subject of the work. From here the road on which they have travelled leads the eye along a zigzag path into the painting, back through fields, towards the city and into the far distance. The wild and neglected land in the foreground becomes more pastoral towards the middle distance. The curved shape of the tree in the foreground also helps to lead the eye into the centre of the picture.
Rhythm is introduced by the repetition of elements like shapes and colours. Tree shapes are repeated, and the red clothing worn by many of the people moves the eye from one part of the picture to another. Athenians in the middle of the painting continue to go about their daily activities despite the presence of a dead body in their midst. A snapshot of daily life is given through the portrayal of people bathing, playing instruments, tending sheep and praying. The illusion of distance is created through the use of perspective. Objects appear smaller in the distance and become larger as you move into the foreground.
The colours in the background are lighter than the darker, warmer tones in the front. The contrast between dark and light areas within the painting helps to create drama but also highlights some areas while making others look more mysterious. The man on horseback, for instance, seems to be riding out of darkness, while the shroud in the foreground is strongly lit thus drawing attention to Phocion’s key role in this story. (http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/media/1/0/4/9/9/art_learning_resource.en.pdf)