The Rialto Bridge from the Riva del Vin by MARIESCHI, Michele
(b. 1710, Venezia, d. 1743, Venezia)

The Rialto Bridge from the Riva del Vin

Oil on canvas transferred from wood, 130 x 196 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal with its galleries of shops has always been a tourist attraction. Up till the middle of the previous century it formed the only permanent link between the two sides of the Canal. The bridge leads from the Campo di San Bartolommeo to the busy Rialto quarter, of old the commercial centre of Venice and nowadays still the site of the market. Between 1588 and 1591, the wooden bridge was replaced by the present stone construction by Antonio da Ponte. Da Ponte's design apparently made a better impression than those of illustrious architects such as Michelangelo, Sansovino and Palladio, whose plans were rejected at an earlier stage of the competition. The bridge is seen here from Palazzo dei Dieci Savi on the Riva del Vin, where wine used to be unloaded. We look in the direction of the Riva del Ferro on the opposite side of the Grand Canal, on the right side of which Palazzo Manin and part of Palazzo Bembo are still just visible.

The composition is largely determined by the spectacularly foreshortened bridge on the left and by the Riva del Ferro. The Riva recedes much more here than in reality, so that the veduta seems to be bent backwards, as it were. The rendering of the stairway on the left at the foot of the bridge catches the eye. Our attention is also attracted by the busy activity in the shadowy foreground, a common trait in the work of Carlevaris. The composition is designed so as to lead the eye of the spectator from the left foreground by way of the Rialto Bridge to the right along the other bank.

The painting has been attributed to Marieschi since 1958. In the past it was attributed to Canaletto, and later to Bernardo Bellotto.