Watercolour is famously the medium of choice for attempting to capture the indefinable, enigmatic and of course unreachable glories of Venice. Whilst the collection of structures at the end of the Grand Canal are justifiably without parallel, creating an inexhaustible source of vistas, it is the view east across the Giudecca canal that perhaps offers an alternative locus mirabilis for the artist.

San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, dusk (detail)

San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, dusk [detail] (2015)

Facing west towards the dome of the Salute the sheer brilliance of the sunset, the strength of the colours and the intensity of contrast provide a different challenge in watercolours to the subtler art of capturing its alter ego eastwards, basking in a kind of reflected glory. The western front of San Giorgio Maggiore at dusk turns a brilliantly shining face to the embers of a fine day, alternatively it is ghost-like in a Venetian fug. For my part I love the dusk, and the surprising red of the umbra cast on the campanile from the dome.

By mentioning Turner’s Venetian watercolours of 1819 one must of course acknowledge the Adriatic-gap in ability and humbling debt, but it is still wonderful to observe how each artist in successive generations shares similar topographical waypoints and inspiration from this sublime location.

Watercolour on paper (20x50cm)