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Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

Venice: The Bacino di S. Marco on Ascension Day c.1733-4

Oil on canvas | 76.8 x 125.4 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 404417

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The ceremony of the Sposalizio del Mar (‘Wedding of the Sea’), held on Ascension Day, was Venice’s most important annual event. The Bucintoro, the Doge’s gilded galleon seen here to the right before the Palazzo Ducale, was rowed in procession out of the lagoon into the Adriatic, where the Doge cast a ring blessed by the Patriarch into the waters, symbolising the marriage of Venice to the sea. The marquee of the traditional Ascension Day market can be seen in the Piazzetta at centre left.