Sickert first visited Venice in 1895 and was immediately captivated by the city. The exceptionally impressive architecture coupled with the distinctive play of light off the surrounding water had long provided artists with source material and this was no different for Sickert who was inspired by all the great monuments including San Marco, the Rialto and in the case of the present work, the Ponte della Paglia (Bridge of Straw) which links the Riva degli Schiavoni with the Molo. The Grand Canal facade of the Doge's Palace can be seen on the right and across the Piazzetta San Marco is the Lion of St Mark and the Biblioteca Marciana.
During his visits to Venice around 1900-1901, Sickert had focussed on a handful of his favourite subjects, principally, the beguiling facade of San Marco (see lot 44) and the view towards the Santa Maria della Salute (see Venice, La Salute, sold in these rooms, 15th July 2008, lot 18) and painted several versions of each subject, never tiring of the ever-changing effects of light and shadow refracting off the intricate elegance of each building. In contrast however, the present painting appears to present a unique viewpoint for the artist. Rather than concentrating directly on Venice's most famous residence, the Doge's Palace, he positioned himself parallel to it and focussed instead on the animated atmosphere of the passing crowds enjoying their daily passeggiata.
We are grateful to Dr Wendy Baron for her kind assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.
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