Ziem, Venice

Félix Ziem (1821-1911)
La Lagune, Venise
Oil on canvas
72 x 53 cm / 21 ¼ x 28 ¾ in.
Signed at lower right.

Félix Ziem was a tireless traveller. Throughout his career he repeatedly toured around the Mediterranean Sea, visiting Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo, and Algiers, always looking for new exotic motifs for his art. His favourite place by far, however, was Venice, where he spent several months each year, sometimes working from a floating studio on a gondola. Ziem’s patrons were enchanted by the artist’s romantic depictions of ‘la Serenissima’, and this success stimulated him to infinitely re-interpret the famous views of the ‘floating city’ at different times of the day and in various light-effects. The view across the Bacino towards the entrance of the Canale Grande was one of the vistas of Venice that Ziem loved the most, producing many variations of it throughout his career. In the present work the Palazzo Ducale, the Campanile and the dome of Santa Maria della Salute are bathed in pinkish golden morning light. Fisher boats have set their red and white sails, ready to go out to sea for the day, while and a large, heavily loaded gondola is crossing the basin.
Ziem’s views of Venice feel like poetic visions. He was a gifted colorist, using a vibrant palette, and a master of handling atmospheric effects. He was less interested in accurate depiction of his land- and cityscapes, but rather in expressing the lyrical qualities of his motifs. The present work is ornately framed.