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Provenance

Possibly (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 31 May 1902, no. 101).[1] (Martin Colnaghi [1821-1908], London).[2] George A. Hearn [1835-1913], New York; (his sale, American Art Galleries, New York, 25 February-4 March 1918, no. 446); purchased by (O. Bernet).[3] Emil Winter, Pittsburgh; (his sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 15-17 January 1942, no. 442); purchased by (Julius H. Weitzner [1896-1986], New York).[4] (Schaeffer Galleries, New York);[5] purchased 1942 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1943 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1946
Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. 717.
1994
The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century, Royal Academy of Arts, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museo del Settecento Veneziano - Ca'Rezzonico, Venice, 1994-1995, not in cat. (shown only in Washington in 1995).
2011
Shared Treasures: The Legacy of Samuel Kress, Allentown Art Museum, 2011-2012, no catalogue.
Bibliography
1945
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 149, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1952
Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Interpreting Masterpieces: Twenty-four Paintings from the Kress Collection." Art News Annual 16 (1952): 171-172, pl. 125.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 258, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1960
Pallucchini 1960, 240-241, fig. 627.
1965
Pallucchini, Rodolfo. "Note alla mostra dei Guardi." Arte Veneta 19 (1965): 228, 231.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 64, as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 56, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1970
Hannegan, Barry. In Painting in Italy in the Eighteenth Century: Rococo to Romanticism. Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Toledo Museum of Art. Chicago, 1970: 68.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 97.
1973
Morassi, Antonio. Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi. 2 vols. Venice, 1973-1975: 1:277, 462, no. 817; 2:fig. 745.
1973
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 170-171, fig. 327.
1974
Rossi Bortolatto, Luigina. L'opera completa di Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1974: 97, no. 127, repro. and color pl. 4.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 166, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1975
Morassi, Antonio. Tutti i disegni di Antonio, Francesco e Giacomo Guardi. Venice, 1975: 184.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:241-242, II:pl. 162, as A Seaport and Calssic Ruins in Italy.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 348, no. 485, color repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 193, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
1987
Succi, Dario, et al. Guardi, metamorfosi dell'imagine. Exh. cat. Castello di Gorizia, Venice, 1987: 57, 81, n. 18, fig. 65.
1990
Bean, Jacob, and William Griswold. Eighteenth-Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990: 131-132.
1993
Succi, Dario. Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1993: 80, fig. 76, 82.
1996
De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 134-138, repro. 135.
2012
Percival, Melissa. Fragonard and the Fantasy Figure: Painting the Imagination. Burlington, Vt., 2012: xiv, 220, fig. 6.10.
Technical Summary

The support consists of two pieces of loosely woven plain-weave fabric joined with a vertical seam. The ground is a reddish-brown layer. The paint film is smooth and was applied in thin layers; the lighter passages show a slightly thicker buildup of paint. The ground was incorporated into the image, mainly in the foreground but also in the architecture. Dark glazes were applied over the ground to model the details of the temple, the ruins, and other elements. The architectural details were defined with calligraphic strokes of thin black paint. The sky was painted first with reserves left for the foreground, the architecture at right, and the large tower in the center. The smaller details in the distance were painted directly over the blue-white of the sky. The figures and the foreground were painted at the same time.

The tacking margins have been removed and cusping is visible only along the bottom and right edges. A rectangle measuring 26 x 67 cm was cut out of the lower-left corner of the support and reinserted; the edges of the vertical join do not match precisely. There are paint losses along the bottom edge and small areas of inpainting throughout. Overall abrasion has made the ground much more visible than intended, especially in the sky, which has taken on a dark reddish brown tonality. The dark glazes in the architecture and foreground are extensively abraded. The varnish is clear. In 1943 the painting was relined, discolored varnish was removed, and the painting was restored by Stephen Pichetto. The most recent treatment was carried out by Mario Modestini, who removed discolored varnish and restored the painting in 1959.