Gianantonio GUARDI- 1699 – 1760
Saint John the Baptist with a Lamb and Putti Surrounding Him
Venetian School

Pen and brown ink over black

24.1 x 36.0 cm

Euro : 8000,-

Gianantonio Guardi, born in Vienna in 1699, was the elder brother of Francesco and Nicolò. Gianantonio Guardi in contrast to his brothers was a figurative painter, rather than vedutista. However, they collaborated on some religious compositions and most of the figure paintings which were previously assigned to Francesco are now re-attributed to Gianantonio. From about 1730 to 1746 he was employed by Field Marshal Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg to paint interpretative "copies" of famous paintings for Schulenburg's gallery, and at which time he also produced the famous series of 43 paintings illustrating Turkish themes. Gianantonio's sister married Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and it is possibly through this influence that he became the founder of the Venetian Accademia di Pittura in 1756. His paintings of the "Story of Tobit" that decorate the organ loft in the Church of the Angelo Raffaele in Venice are among the masterpieces of 18th century European painting. A signed painting, "The Death of Joseph" is in the Museum of Berlin. Gianantonio Guardi died in Venice in 1760.

The drawing can be assigned to Gianantonio's mature period, about 1750, when his lose drawing style touches close to those of Francesco Guardi, with whom they are often confused. The drawing can be connected to the same subject by Antonio Guardi in the Uffizi in Florence ( The position of Saint John, the lamb and the surrounding ground and vegetation is identical, while the putti are very different. The drawing in the Uffizi is based on a painting by Giambattista Pittoni, while the present drawing is clearly a new adaptation by the artist on the same theme; perhaps the variation suggests that the present drawing was a preparatory study for his own painting on this subject. The figure of the present Saint John the Baptist is used by Gianantonio Guardi as the figure of Tobias's father in the "Departure of the Angel" in the Church of Angelo Raffaele in Venice.

Comparative drawings from this period are "The Martyrdom of Saint Clemence" formerly in the Janos Scholz collection in New York, "Aurora" in a private collection in Zurich, "The Triumph of Faith" in the Museo Correr in Venice ( as well as the "Saint in Glory" in the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the "Apotheosis of a Saint" in the Städelsches Institute in Frankfurt (

The attribution has been made by Dr. Andrea Piai, Venice, and has also been confirmed by Prof. Bernard Aikema, upon having seen the present drawing in the original, in a written note in March 2014.


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