lower left: A.C.F (Antonio Canal Fecit)
Probably Henry Howard, 4th earl of Carlisle [1694-1758], or Frederick, 5th earl of Carlisle [1748-1825], Castle Howard, Yorkshire; by descent to Hon. Geoffrey William Howard [1877-1935], Castle Howard, Yorkshire; sold 1938 by the Trustees of Geoffrey Howard to Barbara Hutton, the countess Hangwitz Reventlow [1912-1979], Winfield House, London; gift 1945 to NGA.
- The Works of Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1890, no. 57.
- Catalogue of Oil Paintings & Drawings by Antonio Canal, The Magnasco Society, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1929, no. 12.
- Canaletto: Disegni, Dipinti, Incisioni, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 1982, no. 86.
- Canaletto: Il trionfo della veduta, Palazzo Giustiniani, Rome, 2005, no. 48, repro.
- Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals, The National Gallery, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2010-2011, no. 28, repro., as The Piazza San Marco and the Piazzetta, Looking Southeast (shown only in Washington).
The support is a plain, loosely woven fabric of medium weight with irregular threads. The ground is a thick, reddish brown layer that strongly influences the hue of the overlying paint layer, particularly in the sky. The paint was applied in layers of varying thickness with a direct and vigorous wet-in-wet technique. The main compositional elements were blocked in with fairly thin layers. The sky was painted before the buildings and the areas for these were held in reserve to be painted later, although the textured paint of the clouds and sky extends slightly under the buildings. The upper-right corner of the Doges' Palace was extended over previously painted passages of sky. A thin dark paint was employed for some of the details, and thin layers of semitranslucent dark paint were used throughout to outline and delineate forms and details of the buildings and figures. This dark paint was applied over or around sections of more thickly applied opaque paint that had already dried somewhat, as in the filigree on the facade of San Marco and the features of the small figures. Highlights on the faces were created with dabs of pink or yellow paint. The figures were applied directly over the white linear designs in the pavement, but before the thin black lines indicating the individual paving blocks.
The tacking margins have been removed, but moderate cusping is evident along all four sides. There is a single vertical area of discrete loss at the center of the painting, corresponding to a similar loss in the companion painting; the two paintings were evidently stored face to face when the damage occurred. This damage is most severe at the left of the central flagpole on the facade of the Palazzo Ducale. Another area of damage that existed below the base of the central flagpole was heavily overpainted. The thinly painted sky (which is significantly thinner than in the pendant) is badly abraded. Discolored varnish was removed and the painting restored by Catherine Metzger in 1993.
- Duthie, John. Manuscript cataloge of the pictures at Castle Howard. 2 vols. [Pictures arranged numerically.] Castle Howard Archives Hs/I/11-12, 1878: no. 67.
- Duthie, John. Manuscript catalogue of the pictures at Castle Howard. 2 vols. [Pictures arranged numerically; superseded 1878 catalogue.] Castle Howard Archives H2/I/13-14, 1880: no. 60.
- Browning, H. Ellen. "The Canaletto Collection at Castle Howard." Art Journal 68 (1905): 340-345.
- Carlisle, Rosalind, 9th countess of. Manuscript catalogue of pictures at Castle Howard. Castle Howard Archives H2/I/28, 21, 1918: no. 60.
- Jones, Leif. Manuscript catalogue of pictures at Castle Howard. 2 vols. [Follows numbering system used in 1880 and 1918.] Castle Howard Archives H2/I/37-38, 1926: no. 60.
- Tipping, H. Avray. "Castle Howard-II. Yorkshire, The Seat of the Hon. Geoffrey Howard." Country Life 61 (11 June 1927): 955, fig. 16.
- Tipping, H. Avray. "Pictures at Castle Howard." Country Life 61 (25 June 1927): 1045, fig. 6.
- Constable, W. G. "Canaletto at the Magnasco Society." The Burlington Magazine 55 (July 1929): 46.
- Estate Duty Office File. List of Pictures. Castle Howard Archives F10/74, 2, 1935: no. 60.
- Parker, Karl T. The Drawings of Antonio Canaletto in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle. London, 1948: 34.
- Moschini, Vittorio. Canaletto. Milan, 1954: 30, fig. 145.
- Pallucchini 1960, 108, fig. 282, color pl. 19 (detail).
- Constable, William George. Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768. 2 vols. Oxford, 1962: 1:pl. 19; 2:203, no. 50.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 318, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 22.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 15, repro.
- Puppi, Lionello. The Complete Paintings of Canaletto. Milan, 1968: 103, repro., no. 141.
- Pignatti, Terisio. Canaletto: Selected Drawings. University Park and London, 1970: n.p., note to pl. 16.
- Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 43, as by School of Canaletto.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 52, repro.
- Constable and Links 1976, 1:pl. 19; 2:207-208, no. 50.
- Pignatti, Terisio. Antonio Canal detto Il Canaletto. Milan, 1976: 198, pl. 76.
- Links, J. G. Canaletto and His Patrons. London, 1977: 42, pl. 58.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:101-103, II:pl. 69.
- Links, J. G. Canaletto. Oxford, 1982: 83-84, pls. 74 (detail), 75.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 346, no. 478, color repro.
- Corboz, André. Canaletto: Una Venezia immaginaria. Catalogue compiled by Anna Tortorelo. 2 vols. Milan, 1985: 2:636, repro., no. P 249.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 72, repro.
- Constable, W. G. Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768. 2nd edition revised by J. G. Links, reissued with supplement and additional plates. 2 vols. Oxford, 1989: 1:112-113, 165, pl. 19; 2:207-208, no. 50.
- Ross, Nicholas. Canaletto. London, 1993: 94, repro., as Piazza San Marco: looking Southeast.
- 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: 24-31, color repro. 26.
- Gebhardt, Volker. Kunstgeschichte Malerei, 1997, no. 136, repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 239, no. 190, color repro.
- Brown, David Alan. The Secret of the Gondola. Milan, 2014: 10-12, 15, 16, 34, color plates 2-7.