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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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This scene shows the return to Venice of the Bucintoro, the ceremonial vessel used for the annual ‘Wedding of the Sea’ held on Ascension Day. During the ceremony the Doge of Venice cast a ring into the water, symbolising the marriage of Venice to the sea. This painting, together with other works by Canaletto, was purchased by George III in 1762 from Joseph Smith, the former British Consul in Venice and Canaletto’s greatest patron.