Santa Maria della salute, 1906
Unmounted (ref: 8480)
Etching, printed posthumously from the original plate
30 x 35 in. (76.2 x 89 cm.)
Provenance: Sparrow, Prints and Drawings by Frank Brangwyn, 161
Santa Maria della salute is arguably the most celebrated of all of Brangwyn's prints. It was awarded the gold medal at the 1907 Venice International Exhibition and the Grand Prize at the 1906 Milan International Exhibition.
A few etchings have very important names, though the subjects that these names ask us to see, are almost hidden by boats or barges. This joke has been noted by many writers. Frank Newbolt says, for instance: "'The Porte St. Croix at Bruges,' that massive structure of town defence, is dwarfed by enormous barges"; and Henri Marcel is struck by the "Santa Maria della Salute", seen behind the masts and rigging of tall ships fastened to groups of piles. On our right a medley of picturesque anchors and cranes makes a complicated framing for Santa Maria, whose leaden domes stand out rather clearly against the sky. I like this genre. Not only does it blend architectural motifs with sailoring and commercial activities; it suits Brangwyn, and discovers him as much as he discovers its charm and variety.
Literature: Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Frank Brangwyn and His Work. Boston: Dana Estes, 1911.
Brangwyn is thought to have visited Venice for the ﬁrst time in 1896. He designed the British Room for the Venice Biennale in 1905 and 1907 and always felt a strong association with the city and its celebrated tradition of painting. In 1922 he illustrated Edward Hutton’s book The Pageant of Venice.
We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner for assistance.