In the last few years of his short life, Michele Marieschi dedicated himself to
the art of engraving, thinking this was the perfect medium wherein to make his
skill as a vedutista known to the wider world of collectors; Canaletto had done
something similar with the series of views that had been then published as
engravings by Antonio Visentini under the title Prospectus Magni Canalis… This exhibition is dedicated to Marieschi’s main endeavours in the field of engraving: the series of copper-plate engravings which received their first (incomplete) publication in 1741 under the title Magnificentiores Selectioresque Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus… In the final edition there were a total of twenty views dedicated to the most famous sights in the city, together with a frontispiece in which, above the title, is a portrait of the artist drawn by Angelo Trevisani and engraved by Carlo Orsolini. There is also a dedication to the French nobleman Marc de Beauvau, surmounted by a view of the Doge’s Palace seen from St. Mark’s Basin. In the brief period between obtaining the privilegio (licence) for these prints (4 June 1741) and his own death (18 January 1743), Marieschi himself would complete sixteen of the plates, along with the frontispiece and the dedication. The other four plates (the Basilica of La Salute, the Church of I Frari, Ca’ Pesaro and, probably, that depicting the Fondaco dei Tedeschi) were completed by another hand, following the designs that had already been drawn up by Marieschi before his death. It is likely that this hand belonged to Francesco Fontebasso, to whom – for stylistics reasons – critics now also attribute the figures which appear in the plates. The exhibition comprises the first state of all the plates. These were part of the Cicogna Album which was donated to the Musei Civici Veneziani in 1865 and has recently undergone restoration at the Book Restoration Workshop of Praglia Abbey (Padua). Alongside these first-state prints are also some second-state sheets. These differ in the fact that they have a page number in the bottom left-hand corner. This was added by the printer Teodoro Viero, who acquired the original copper plates in the 1780s.