Four Venetian Scenes

by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison



DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 15.7 x 11.4 cm /6.2 x 4.5 ins

SIGNATURE: Signed lower left

MEDIUM: Gouache on paper



Catalogue No: 4767 Category:

One of the last and certainly the best exponents of the 18th Century tradition of view painting (Vedute), Giuseppe Bernardino Bison received his artistic training in the Academy of Venice, where he studied perspective through the work of Antonio Visentini and the painting of Staffage, in the fashionable 18th Century style.


Atelier Matignon, Paris;
Galerie d’art Michel Bigue, Québec (purchased from the above c. 1987);
Private Collection, Canada

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Born in Palmanova, when Bison was still a boy, his family moved to Brescia, where he saw the works of Girolamo Romani and was inspired to become a painter. Later, his family moved again, to Venice, and he began his studies with Anton Maria Zanetti (the Younger), then enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, where he worked with Costantino Cedini. While there, he became friends with the architect Gian Antonio Selva, and went with him to Ferrara in 1787 to help decorate the Palazzo Bottoni.
The young artist received countless commissions. In 1788 he was in Padua, working as a set designer for the Obizzi family and, in 1790, was commissioned to do decorations for the Castello del Catajo. Two years later, he did similar work at the Palazzo Maffetti-Manzoni, then moved to Treviso, where he did frescoes on the ceiling of the Church of Saint Andrew in Volpago del Montello, the oratory of the Villa Bragadin in Ceggia and secular decorations for several villas in Lancenigo and Breda di Piave. From 1798 to 1800, he collaborated with Selva on decorations at the Palazzo Dolfin Manin in Venice.
Moving on to Trieste, he collaborated with Matteo Pertsch and the sculptor Antonio Bosa to provide decorations for the Palazzo Carciotti and the stock exchange building. In 1811, he was in Zara, working at the Palazzo del Governatore. This was followed by decorative work (now lost) at the theatres in Vipacco and Gorizia.
At this time, he began to take advantage of a growing market for paintings in the homes of well-to-do non-aristocrats and, working in conjunction with a local art dealer named Tosoni, produced a wide variety of landscapes, vedute and other genres to satisfy local tastes. His canvases were expensive and very large. Bison and his contemporary Giacomo Giardi, were the last great artists in the Venetian Vedute tradition.


C. Piperata, Giuseppe Bernardino Bison (1762-1844), Padua, Cedam, 1940;
Il caffé degli Specchi, Trieste, 1985;
Giuseppe Bernardino Bison pittore e disegnatore, (eds.) Bergamini, Magani, Pavanello, exhibition catalogue (Udine, October 24th 1997 – February 15th , 1998) Milan, Skira, 1997;
Magani, Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, Soncino, Edizioni del Soncino, 1993.


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