Some of the most alluring and interesting artworks that feature Venice are those executed in watercolour. The reason for this has as much to do with the peculiarities of the medium as with the timeless appeal of the city’s grand architecture and its quaint bridges and charming gondolas.

Says The New York Times about watercolour as an art medium:

There is something about watercolor that attracts wide interest. Perhaps it’s the luminosity of the medium, or freshness of its effects. A watercolorist walks a tightrope of risk, unlike the practitioner of any other medium. It is a direct and difficult medium; the effects are often created with lightning speed, and they cannot be reversed or duplicated.

‘The Importance of Watercolor’, The New York Times (17 April 1994)

The following watercolours from the 19th and early 20th centuries showcase the beauty of Venice as well as the consummate skills of those who created them:

Gondolas Before a Palace on the Grand Canal in Venice
Watercolor and gouache on wove paper
Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (British, 1821–1906)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice, 1933
Watercolour and pencil
Cass Gilbert (American, 1859–1934)
Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Venice, 1933
Watercolour and pencil on paper
Cass Gilbert (American, 1859–1934)
Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Giudecca Canal with Shipping near the Chiesa dei Gesuati, 1880s
Watercolour over graphite on wove paper
David Law (Scottish, 1831–1901)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Afterglow, Venice, no date
Watercolour on paper
Albert Goodwin (British, 1845–1932)
Photo credit: Royal Watercolour Society
Courtesy of Art UK

Rio dei Mendicanti, Venice, probably 1903-1906
Watercolour over pencil on off-white paper John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)
Courtesy of Indianapolis Museum of Art :: Newfields

A Gondola on the Grand Canal, Venice, 1866
Watercolour over graphite with gouache on wove paper, laid down
William Callow (British, 1812-1908)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

 

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Venice, no date
Watercolour
Hercules Brabazon (English, 1821–1906)
Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum

A Canal, Venice, 1800–1870
Graphite and watercolour, heightened with white on buff paper
James Holland (British, 1800–1870)
Courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art

Red Sail, Venice, c. i1884
Watercolour over graphite pencil
Frank Duveneck (American, 1848–1919)
Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum

Venice, c. 1903
watercolor over black chalk
Henri Edmond Cross (French, 1856–1910)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, at Sunset, 1865/1884
Watercolour and gouache over graphite on wove paper
Edward Lear (British, 1812–1888)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

~ Barista Uno

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