Lot 7
  • 7

Franz Richard Unterberger

180,000 - 220,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Franz Richard Unterberger
  • Grand Canal, Venice
  • signed F.R. Unterberger (lower right); signed and inscribed Venice on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 23 7/8 by 39 3/8 in.
  • 60.5 by 100.1 cm


Private Collection, United States
Richard Green, London
Private Collection, The Netherlands
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, October 24, 2006, lot 5, illustrated
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

This spectacular panoramic view of Venice represents several major landmarks of the city which have inspired artists such as Canaletto (1697-1768) and Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), and many other artists working in the Vedute genre during Unterberger's lifetime (see lot 6). Reflected in the bright, dappled water of the Grand Canal, the Doge's Palace, the Piazza San Marco and the Campanile stand proudly, probably painted from Le Zitelle or San Giorgio Maggiore.

The Doge's Palace, which began to take its present form in the mid-fourteenth century, is comprised of council chambers, courts, a torture chamber and prisons as well as the private apartments of the Doge.  The architectural design is unusual– the lower loggia consists of simple Gothic arches, while the upper loggia is richly patterned with delicate arcading. These loggias support a mass of light-pink masonry, intersected by arched windows.

Behind the Palace is the dome of the magnificent San Marco. John Ruskin, the nineteenth century art historian famed for his adoration of Venice, described its "multitude of pillars and white domes, clustered into a long low pyramid of coloured light; a treasure heap, it seems, partly of gold, and partly of opal and mother of pearl, hollowed beneath into five great vaulted porches, ceiled with fair mosaic, and beset with sculpture of alabaster, clear as amber and delicate as ivory" (As quoted in Hugh Honour, The Companion Guide to Venice, London, 1990, p. 32).  San Marco was built as the Doge's chapel and only became the Cathedral Church of Venice in 1807. It is of Veneto-Byzantine design built at the time when the Venetian Doge became Dominator quartae et dimidiae partis totius Romanius (Ruler of a quarter and a half of the Roman Empire).

Rebuilt at the beginning of the twentieth century, the campanile was originally constructed in the ninth century and reached its present height in the sixteenth. The bell tower served as a landmark to ships bringing the riches of the Orient, such as silks, spices, jewels and relics to Europe.