Sample Arts Essays on The Clock Tower Critique

The Clock Tower Critique

The Clock Tower, in Venice, was designed by Italian artist Francesco Guardi in 1760. The contemporary piece portrays the look of Venice townscape. The clock tower is one of the landmarks identified with Venice and the representation using oil paints brought out the aura surrounding the Italian city at the time. It also brings out the architectural forms and art practiced by the people of Venice at the time. Guardi used confident oil strokes and suitable canvas material to produce the magnificent piece. The reflectory nature of oil paints combined with the canvas material make unrivalled Guardi skills remarkable in the Clock Tower piece (Clarke,36).

In the oil painting art piece, Guardi used poised varied vertical, horizontal, and circular strokes in the piece. Circular strokes are depicted by the gloomy hemispheres, portraying the little cloudy skies over the town’s skies. Generally, the painting has a rough profile depicted by the irregular strokes in the most sections of the art work. The clouds and the uneven strokes in the garments and the building walls augment an element of shadow influence. The hazy white color strokes bring a big contrast to the surrounding environment considering Guardi envisioned the rest of the buildings old and rusty. Guardi employed geometric shapes in the painting. The circular arches, straight beams and the rectangular window sections all depict the geometric assembly. Organic shapes and mass are employed equally by Guardi in the painting. Organic shapes include hemispherical pieces like bells. Considering the geometric essence magnified by Guardi in the art piece, organic shapes are the main ones in the painting correlated with the cluttering organic mass. Geometric mass dominates most of the buildings depicted while organic mass (people, tents) complemented the geometric mass. Considering the texture, realism is evoked by the rough brush strokes’ profile. This complements the envisioned value of the paint prospect. Guardi employed both high-key and low-key perspectives in the painting, though low-key dominates most part of the art piece. High key is depicted by the confident reflective white strokes envisioning the clock tower. The surrounding buildings and environment are envisioned in low-key dull brown walls and garments. These blend well to bring out the main focus of the painting, the Clock Tower. The elemental value considered by Guardi does add chiaroscuro in the painting. The wavy profiles and the low-key strokes contribute to this chiaroscuro and bring out realism. The dominant low-key perspective employed by Guardi bring out the secondary color scheme in the art piece. Brown color comes out dominant contrasted sharply by the grey color strokes of the Clock Tower (M.Phillips,48). These serve well the dominance feature of the Clock Tower.

The painting is asymmetrically balanced considering the size and number of buildings and the amount of traffic accorded to each half. This augments a level of interest and spurs attractiveness to the art piece. Guardi brings out the Clock Tower as the key point. Color and asymmetrical balance is employed to achieve this. The grey color strokes accorded to the Clock Tower bring out the dominating theme and the high-key perspective complements this. The amount of traffic around the Clock Tower is larger compared to the surrounding buildings. The higher number of people bring the focus to the Clock Tower as a landmark and an attraction for the town of Venice. Rhythm is created by the repetitive geometric shape employed by Guardi. The pointed rooftops and the arched windows add rhythm to the painting which depicts that the shape elements in the painting (buildings) are synchronized for uniformity and is obviously pleasant to the eye. The size of the people compared with the surrounding building is proportional. Even an effect of distance perspective is added by the receding sizes of the elements farthest from the front of the painting. The front-facing clock tower is bigger and dominant, but is proportional with the surrounding buildings. Vertical lines add a dimension of direction and movement. They sync with other elements like the geometric shapes to bring rhythm to the art piece. The scale used is normal appropriate as neither elements are too big for the other; they all fit into the painting material size while bringing out clearly the true picture of the Clock Tower. Color schemes and geometry are repeated to bring unity in the various elements. The dominant low-key colors and the repetitive geometric shapes all synchronize the varied elements to enhance unity. There is unity in variability in Guardi’s painting. Variety is etched out by the inclusion of different features like buildings, people, garments, and the varied rooftops.

Iconography is depicted by the increased traffic around the Clock Tower and lesser around the other buildings. Merchants have been depicted to have pitched tents around the Clock Tower and high traffic transmitted towards that direction. This depicts the importance of the Clock Tower as an economic hub. Considering this large traffic, the appeal by merchants and the people generally bring out the Clock Tower as an important landmark in the Venice town. In addition, the white color scheme and the better presentability of the Clock Tower mean the importance and care it has been accorded in the depicted environment.


Clarke, Francesco Guardi and John L. Francesco Guardi, 1712-1793: [exhibition Held at The] Springfield Museum of Fine Arts Springfield, Massachusetts, February 20 to March 21, 1937. Springfield, Mass: The Museum, 1937. Print.

Jones, Barry. Dictionary of world biography. A.C.T. ANU Press, 2014. Print.

M.Phillips, Evelyn. The Venetian School of Painting. 1972. Print.