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This imaginary scene reflects an eighteenth-century fascination with ruins. In it, a once glorious but now ruined folly has been positioned on one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon. Two men dig energetically beside the classical arch, a scene repeated in other paintings by Guardi. He has used the crumbling ruins, emphasised by the trailing greenery and warm light, to evoke an emotional response in viewers, reminding us of the inevitable passage of time.
A Caprice with Ruins on the Seashore
Oil on canvas
H 36.8 x W 26.1 cm
Salting Bequest, 1910