An ample panorama of Venice's lagoon is the scene that Félix Ziem portrays in this work. Il bacino di San Marco (The San Marco Basin), as it is known, serves as the backdrop for a variety of activities that are carried out by several embarkations. In the foreground, a gondola with a group of rowers crosses from one side of the scene to the other, in front of a large ship with its sails unfurled, but at rest. To the left, in the middle ground, another gondola can be seen whose gondolier stands out against the background landscape. In the far ground, the city is seen in profile, where some buildings emblematic of La Serenissima can be distinguished: to the left, the peak of the Dogana di Mare, with the cupolas of Santa Maria Della Salutte; to the right, the great mass of the Palazzo Ducale with the San Marcos bell tower. The sky is an intense blue, with a few small soft scudding clouds, and the atmosphere created is calm, enveloping the view and completing the composition, in which Félix Ziem evokes one of his favorite scenes.
The water of the lagoon is full of movement and sparkles due to the impasto, while the sky has consistence and yet is translucent at the same time. Here he uses a compositional scheme that defines a scenario where one element of interest, such as the boat with sails, stands out. By establishing a difference between different elements based on scale or size, he is able to accentuate contrasts and give emphasis to the motif that interests him. But, at the same time, he creates a soft transition between the foreground and the city that can be recognized in the background through the use of other boats, shadows and the movement in the water's reflections.


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