Master of the Langmatt Foundation Views
The catalogue of Venetian views or "vedute" painted by this still anonymous artist (probably from Venice) is mainly based on the set of thirteen oils bought in the 1920s by Sidney and Jenny Brown, and now kept at the Langmatt Foundation in Baden (Switzerland). They represent a number of very famous subjects -the Grand Canal with the Church of San Simeon Piccolo, Seen from Santa Lucia; the Grand Canal with the Churches of Santa Maria di Nazareth and Santa Lucia; the Campo dei Frari; the Grand Canal Seen from its Confluence with the Rio di Ca'Foscari; the Grand Canal from the Campo San Vio; the End of the Grand Canal, with Santa Maria della Salute and the Dogana; the Bucintoro in Front of the Palazzo Ducale, the Piazzetta, the Zecca and the Libreria Sansoviniana on the Day of the Ascension Feast; the Piazza San Marco Facing the Basilica- and other less known scenes or depicted from an unusual point of view-Confluence of the Rio di Noale and the Rio della Misericordia; Rio dei Mendicanti with the Hospital and the Church of San Lazzaro; the Grand Canal Towards the Lagoon of San Marco, with Santa Maria della Salute and the Dogana; The Giudecca Canal with the Zattere and the Churches of the Visitazione and of the Jesuits; The Zattere Towards Santa Marta, with the Church and the School of the Spirito Santo. This homogeneous group of middle-size paintings (four of them measure 25.5 x 38 cm, the other nine, an average of 47 x 73 cm), characterised by their topographical detail and their typically Canalettesque analysis, and showing a very personal approach in the enlargement of the foreground, framed on both sides by a blue sky with orderly flocks of clouds and emerald waters marked by thin parallel lines, has been dated between 1743 and 1744, on the basis of some architectural details of the buildings represented. Although Succi has suggested a more general date around the middle of the century, emphasising the influence of Marieschi, and particularly of his disciple Albotto, on the anonymous "vedutista", this opinion has been refuted by Fossaluzza. His relationship with Albotto, who was still under the influence of Marieschi's teachings and who had not yet taken the path of the more generic Canalettesque style present in the Langmatt paintings, seems highly improbable in those years. Fossaluzza prefers to link this set of thirteen paintings with a series of works removed from the catalogue of a later painter, Francesco Tironi (1745-1797), all of which are of a slightly inferior quality compared to Tironi's most important works, a fact that had already been acknowledged by Voss.
However, these oils recall other works signed by Tironi, insofar as they respect a similar stylistic formula and intrinsically Canalettesque characteristics. To this recently elaborated catalogue belong The Bucintoro in Front of the Palazzo Ducale, formerly in the hands of N. Friedman, Munich, (53 x 35 cm); the View of San Marco, formerly belonging to I. Frattini, Bergamo, and considered as a work by J. Richter; three paintings (85 x 87 cm) of unidentified views (Venice, Fondazione Cini, Fototeca Fiocco); the View of the Grand Canal with the Quay of San Simeon Piccolo and della Croce, 114 x 75 cm, property of Frezzati, Venice, in November 1961; the Piazzetta San Marco, from the Brusadello Collection; the View of the Church of the Caritá , in the University of Glasgow, Hunterian Collection (attributed to G. B. Cimaroli in the book published by Donzelli); the View of the Island of Saint Michael, auctioned at Dorotheum, Vienna, on 19 June 1979, lot 127; the View of the Redentore, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen (inv. no. 259), and the two modest views (25.5 x 37 cm y 28 x 39.5 cm respectively) of The Grand Canal in Front of the Palazzo Balbi, and View of San Michele in Isola, from the Collection at Villa Cagnola alla Gazzada (VA). According to Fossaluzza, a number of works should also be removed from Bellotto's catalogue, such as the View of the Southern Side of the Piazzetta, Looking Towards the Library, in the Archangelsk Castle Museum, or the View of the Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge and the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, in the Pinacoteca Civica in Ascoli Piceno. The corpus thus constituted shows, according to Fossaluzza himself, paintings of heterogeneous quality which reveal the "vedutista's" professional development. His weakest works are those of Cagnola, and of these, the View of San Michele in Isola is greatly inferior in quality to the oil of the same subject, undoubtedly also by the Langmatt Master and belonging to a Swiss private collection (defined as "Venetian school, c. 1750").