Walter Richard SickertLa Scuola Grande di San Marco, c. 1895–1896
oil on canvas
signed lower left
50 x 76 cm / 20 x 30 in
Copyright The Artist
Walter Sickert described Venice as ‘the loveliest city in the world’ (A. Greutzner Robins (ed.), Walter Sickert: The Complete Writings on Art, Oxford, 2000, p. 182). First visiting in 1894...
Walter Sickert described Venice as ‘the loveliest city in the world’ (A. Greutzner Robins (ed.), Walter Sickert: The Complete Writings on Art, Oxford, 2000, p. 182). First visiting in 1894 with his wife Ellen, he made a succession of longer visits in subsequent years, staying for several months at a time. The present work was executed in the frst of these sojourns in 1895-96, a stay characterised by a focus on well-known architectural sites of which the Scuola Grande di San Marco was one. Writing to his friend and fellow artist, Philip Wilson Steer, Sickert lists his favoured subjects, ‘St. Mark’s is engrossing and the Ducal Palace and two or three Renaissance gems, the Miracoli and S. Zaccharia and the Scuola di San Marco’ (R. Upstone, exhibition catalogue, Sickert in Venice, London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2009, p. 72). Sickert’s practice was to investigate the potential of paint by repeating similar compositions and studies, inspired by viewing Monet’s sequence of canvases exploring the efects of light upon Rouen Cathedral. Exemplifying his technical profciency, feathery brushstrokes are combined with a more defned rendering of the architecture to achieve a strikingly evocative representation of the subject. One of several compositions of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, the present work is the most atmospheric in its representation of the Scuola, described by Wendy Baron as ‘the only extant version to suit the title Sirocco (in its suggestion of an impending storm)’ (W. Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, New Haven and London, 2006, p. 219).