Michele Marieschi

Michele Marieschi, was an 18th century Venetian painter and engraver; known for his landscape views and imaginary architectural scenes.

First trained as a scene painter, he spent the first part of his life working in Germany. 

Returning to Venice in 1731, he embarked on his career as a painter, first starting to create “capricci” (imagined architectural landscapes), inspired by his predecessors, Marco Ricci and Luca Carlevaris. This was followed by his “vedute” (topographically accurate views taken from life); no doubt emboldened by the success of his contemporaries, Canaletto and Guardi.

Late in his short life, he created a set of original engravings, that was to bring Marieschi’s great skills, to a wider audience of collectors; both at home and abroad.

Sadly, he died at the age of 33.  

 


Michele Marieschi

(b.1 December, 1710 – d. 18 January 1744)

Portrait of the artist drawn by Angelo Trevisani and engraved by Carlo Orsolini.

Magnificentiores Selectioresque Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus
                 A Collection of Engravings of City Views

 

 

 


 

Michele Marieschi. 18th century painter and engraver

Above: Michele Marieschi. “View of the Bacino Di San Marco from the Church and Island of San Giorgio Maggiore” (date unknown)


 

Michele Marieschi – LIFE

Michele Marieschi was born in Venice in 1710, the son of an engraver; who unfortunately died when he was eleven.

Michele Giovanni Marieschi (1710–1743), began his artistic career as a set painter in the workshop of Francesco Tasso and spent much of the first half of his life living in Germany. According to his biography in Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi’s “Abecedario Pittorico”, published in Venice in 1753; he may have worked as a stage designer.

He returned to Venice by 1731, as a scene-painter. His first recorded activity, was the preparation in 1731; of the setting for the Carnival Thursday celebrations, in the Piazzetta.

Michele Marieschi. Architectural Fantasy with a Staircase in a Courtyard

Embarking on his career as a painter, he first started to create “capricci” (imagined architectural landscapes), inspired by his predecessors, Marco Ricci and Luca Carlevaris. This was followed by his “vedute” (topographically accurate views taken from life); no doubt emboldened by the success of his contemporaries, Canaletto and Guardi.

Between 1735 and 1741, he was registered in the Venetian Fraglia de’ Pittori, (painters’ guild).

Left: Michele Marieschi. “Architectural Fantasy with a Staircase in a Courtyard

 

 

In 1735, he went to Fano, to work on the “effects” for the funeral of Maria Clementina Sobieska; wife of the Old Pretender (the son of King James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland). He made two drawings of the ceremony which were subsequently engraved.

One of his important patrons, right up to his death, was the noted German collector, Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg. He bought twelve paintings between 1736–38, including views of the Rialto and the Doge’s Palace.

In 1737, he married Angelo Fontana, the daughter of an important Venetian picture-dealer. One of Marieschi’s sponsors at his wedding, was Gaspare Diziani.

 

PRINTS FROM ETCHINGS

In 1741-42, Marieschi published a set of 21 prints of Venice, under the title of “Magnificentiores Selectioresque Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus”; the title page featured a portrait of Marieschi, by Angelo Trevisani.

Marieschi’s suite of engraved view of Venice, is the culmination of his artistic career as a vedutista.

Creating and publishing these engravings was the ideal way for Marieschi to make his great skill known to a wider audience of collectors; both at home and abroad.

Left: Michele Marieschi. “The Rialto Bridge in Venice” (1741-2)

In 1740, Antonio Visentini had engraved a set of 38 views after Canaletto’ paintings. It is likely that their success encouraged Marieschi, to create a similar work of his own. However, unlike Canaletto’s suite, Marieschi’s engravings are all original compositions rather than copies of paintings.

Marieschi’s suite, enjoyed immediate success, as is evidenced by the many reprints and later editions following its initial publication and continuing on to the end of the century.

Untimely death. Despite his untimely death at age 33, he enjoyed considerable success as both a painter and an engraver.

Michele Marieschi was perhaps, the most romantic of the 18th century Venetian view painters.

 

STYLE.

Marieschi’s artistic style, has been characterised as a mixture of Canaletto’s detailed and exacting vision combined with Guardi’s poetic grace. His work displays a mastery, in evoking atmosphere through a dynamic handling of the brush and harmonious use of colour.

As such, his works often exhibit features from both of the typically Venetian genres, vedute (views taken from life) and capricci (imagined architectural landscapes).

This contradiction can be seen in Marieschi’s use of exaggerated perspective, in his engraving of the Piazza San Marco; thereby showing us a real site that has been embellished for heightened dramatic effect.

 

Left: Michele Marieschi “Buildings and Figures near a River with Rapids” (1935-43)

 

In another instance, the engraving of Campo San Rocco; Marieschi created an elaborate capricco, within a view of a real piazza. Since the church had not yet been completed, he took the opportunity to include an imagined, richly decorated facade (which was replaced by Joseph Wagner with the real church in the 1770 second edition).

English art historian, Michael Levey, contrasts Marieschi’s style with Canaletto’s; noting that Marieschi’s “use of paint is livelier and fresher”.

He drew on his scenery painting experience to “transform his urban views by using an exaggerated perspective that confers the novelty of a capricious invention, even on scenes taken from life.

 

Above: Michele Marieschi. “View of the Courtyard of the Doges Palace, Venice

 

REPRESENTATION

The works of Michele Marieschi, are represented in National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; the National Museum, Stockholm; the National Gallery, London, the Accademia, Venice; the Museo Correr, Venice; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 


LINKS

Please see my introductory post, on the Second Golden Age of Art: together with its most important artists: 

 Venetian Artists-18th Century

Foreign Artists working in Venice

Turner in Venice         Whistler in Venice

Monet in Venice

 

 


 

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