Possibly (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 31 May 1902, no. 101). (Martin Colnaghi [1821-1908], London). 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). 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). (Schaeffer Galleries, New York); purchased 1942 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1943 to NGA.
- Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. 717.
- 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).
- Shared Treasures: The Legacy of Samuel Kress, Allentown Art Museum, 2011-2012, no catalogue.
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.
- 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.
- Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Interpreting Masterpieces: Twenty-four Paintings from the Kress Collection." Art News Annual 16 (1952): 171-172, pl. 125.
- 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.
- Pallucchini 1960, 240-241, fig. 627.
- Pallucchini, Rodolfo. "Note alla mostra dei Guardi." Arte Veneta 19 (1965): 228, 231.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 64, as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 56, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
- 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.
- Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 97.
- Morassi, Antonio. Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi. 2 vols. Venice, 1973-1975: 1:277, 462, no. 817; 2:fig. 745.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 170-171, fig. 327.
- Rossi Bortolatto, Luigina. L'opera completa di Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1974: 97, no. 127, repro. and color pl. 4.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 166, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
- Morassi, Antonio. Tutti i disegni di Antonio, Francesco e Giacomo Guardi. Venice, 1975: 184.
- 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.
- 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.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 193, repro., as A Seaport and Classic Ruins in Italy.
- Succi, Dario, et al. Guardi, metamorfosi dell'imagine. Exh. cat. Castello di Gorizia, Venice, 1987: 57, 81, n. 18, fig. 65.
- Bean, Jacob, and William Griswold. Eighteenth-Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990: 131-132.
- Succi, Dario. Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1993: 80, fig. 76, 82.
- 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.
- Percival, Melissa. Fragonard and the Fantasy Figure: Painting the Imagination. Burlington, Vt., 2012: xiv, 220, fig. 6.10.