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Venetian painter; born at Venice, 1712; died in the same city, 1793. He was a pupil of Canaletto, and in style a close follower of his master. Of his life practically nothing is known, save that he is believed to have always lived in Venice, and to have painted scenes confined to that city and its neighbourhood. He painted with extraordinary facility, three or four days being enough for producing an entire work, with the result that, although his pictures are rich and forcible in colouring, and accurate in general effect, they are far behind those of Canaletto in the accuracy of their details, and are less solid and firm, and less well grounded, than the paintings of his master. They are noted, however, for their spirited touch and sparkling colour. Examples are to be found in almost every European gallery, notably in Paris, Berlin, Modena, Brussels, Venice, and Verona, and his smaller works are in great demand in the houses of the wealthier collectors of choice pictures. A sketchbook by Guardi was sold in London two or three years ago for a very high price, and it contained, amongst other drawings, the original sketches for the views of Venice in the Bridgewater House collection. The artist is said to have been responsible for nearly a thousand pictures. Berenson speaks of him as "anticipating both the Romantic and the Impressionist painters of our own country", and again refers to his "eye for the picturesque, and his remarkable instantaneous effects".
ZANETTI, Della Pittura Veneziana (Venice, 1771); BERENSON, The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance (London, 1894).
GEORGE CHARLES WILLIAMSON