Michele Marieschi, Venice 1710 - 1744
Michele Marieschi was one of the most admired and successful vedutisti, or view painters, of the Venetian eighteenth century. Little is known of his training, though it seems likely that he began his career as a stage designer. Indeed, his earliest documented activity in 1731 was the preparation of the set design for the Venetian celebration of Carnival Thursday in the Piazzetta, at the behest of the impresario Francesco Tasso. Marieschi’s earliest capricci and vedute were clearly influenced by his fellow Venetians Marco Ricci and Luca Carlevarijs, and he certainly must have been encouraged to pursue view painting in particular given the success of Canaletto in the genre. Yet the theatrical compositions, exaggerated perspectives, and atmospheric color, of Marieschi’s mature works set him apart from his contemporaries. So too did his especially spirited and delightfully colorful staffage, often executed by specialist figure painters, including Francesco Simonini and Giovanni Antonio Guardi. Marieschi’s works proved enormously popular with the most elite patrons. His earliest recorded vedute date from 1736 and were executed for Johann Matthias, Graf von der Schulenburg, who continued to be an important client. In 1738, he then executed a set of six views for the palace of Sanssouci, Potsdam and in 1741 completed a set of twenty-one etchings of views of Venice. Another significant patron was Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle, and the artist’s works were collected en masse by Frederick II, King of Prussia. A diligent artist, Marieschi is said to have worked himself to death.