Born in Canale d'Agordo, near Belluno, and later working predominantly in Venice, Giuseppe Zais was once one of the leading landscape painters of the Venetian, late Baroque Settecento.

The early landscapes of Zais often stylistically reference his master, Marco Ricci, in their compositional construction of rural settings, often framed with trees, and the descriptive depiction of grouped figures at work. Ricci’s rural landscapes and chiaroscuro lighting seemingly prompted Zais to explore the myriad ways in which light might be captured in nature.

However, his later works produced after 1740, such as the present painting, are indicative of his admiration towards the highly acclaimed landscape painter, Francesco Zuccarelli. Zuccarelli’s muted colours influenced a softening and simplifying of Zais’ technique and such refinement is notable in the present work. It was sold at Christies in 1955 as a work by ‘F. Zuccarelli, R.A.’, a misattribution which has occurred for numerous works by Zais and stands as a testament to his accomplished...

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Born in Canale d'Agordo, near Belluno, and later working predominantly in Venice, Giuseppe Zais was once one of the leading landscape painters of the Venetian, late Baroque Settecento.

The early landscapes of Zais often stylistically reference his master, Marco Ricci, in their compositional construction of rural settings, often framed with trees, and the descriptive depiction of grouped figures at work. Ricci’s rural landscapes and chiaroscuro lighting seemingly prompted Zais to explore the myriad ways in which light might be captured in nature.

However, his later works produced after 1740, such as the present painting, are indicative of his admiration towards the highly acclaimed landscape painter, Francesco Zuccarelli. Zuccarelli’s muted colours influenced a softening and simplifying of Zais’ technique and such refinement is notable in the present work. It was sold at Christies in 1955 as a work by ‘F. Zuccarelli, R.A.’, a misattribution which has occurred for numerous works by Zais and stands as a testament to his accomplished hand.

This riverside landscape is pleasing in its atmospheric sensitivity without compromising the narrative development; the arrangement of the figures - grouped in the foreground and dispersed throughout the middle distance, going about their daily chores - is characteristic of Zais.

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500 Years of British Art