Antonio Guardi is one of the great masters working in the field of history painting in Venice during the eighteenth century. His father Domenico, also a painter, lived for some years in Vienna, where Antonio was born in 1699. Two years later, the family moved to Venice and here Antonio stayed and worked for the rest of his life.
The four frescoes restored by VIF between 2007 and 2008 are exhibited in two rooms on the second floor of Ca’ Rezzonico: the Triumph of Diana on the ceiling of the Sala delle Lacche Verdi, and Venus and Love, Apollo and Minerva on the walls of the Sala del Guardi. These four works in the Ca’ Rezzonico museum are the only frescoes by Antonio Guardi that have come down to us.
The four works were painted for Palazzetto Barbarigo, a building near the church of Angelo Raffaele, and transferred to Ca’ Rezzonico in 1936 after being recovered from beneath a layer of lime applied in the nineteenth century.
Scholars attributed them alternately to the two Guardi brothers – Antonio and Francesco – until the discovery in a New York collection of a sheet, a firmly attributed drawing by Antonio, which bore a preparatory sketch for Minerva on the back. Thanks to this discovery, it was also possible to date the frescoes to around 1750.
The restoration was undertaken by Ottorino Nonfarmale.