This scene portrays the Regatta Carnival that was held each year on the 2nd February. The canal is depicted lined with boats, including elaborately carved and gilded bissone belonging to prominent Venetian families. The oarsmen of two bissone in the right and left foreground wear the white and blue colours of the Pisani family, one of the richest and most powerful families in Venice. Some of the figures are wearing the bauta a black cape and white mask that were worn only during carnival time.
To the left is the winning post, a floating island which holds the prize-winners’ flags. It was specially constructed each year to a different design. The design of this (unknown) year is a ruined temple.
Purchased with assistance from The National Art Collections Fund, V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Production period: 18th century