The Palazzi Series
Claude Monet did not think it was necessary to travel outside of the city. The facades from the palaces drew his attention and his largest series of Venice is comprised of eight paintings of Venetian palaces, also called the Palazzi series. The Palazzi are unified by the fact that they are very different from not only the other Venice series but also they contradict the Venetian land scape and seascape tradition.1 The Palazzi are characterized by two or three elements to each painting, the façade of the palazzo, the water and sometimes a fraction of the sky. The smaller subseries of the Palazzi consist of two views of the Palazzo Contarini, and of the Palazzo da Mula. The Palazzo da Mula (figure 3) shows the change in Monet’s technique. Monet painted the Palazzo da Mula, which was located in the narrow Calle Dose da Ponte, from the opposite side of the canal.2 It was perhaps due to his closer vantage point that he did not depict the sky or the adjacent buildings inn this painting there is only the façade and the water, which is the type of view shared by the Palazzi.
The eight views of the Palazzi are also characterized by the fact that their facades are parallel with the frame of the canvas.3 This trait is strongly articulated in the largest subseries of the Palazzi, the four canvases of the Palazzo Dario (figure 1). It is apparent that Monet was especially drawn to the Palazzo Dario of all the Palazzi, for Monet who is famous draftsman as well as painter, bought as sketchbook in Venice that held forty-nine pages, yet he only used one to draw the Palazzo Dario (figure 2) before putting down the pencil for good, in Venice. It is most likely that Monet painted more views of the Palazzo Dario as well because its richly decorated façade challenged the Impressionist the most out of the Palazzi. That being said, because Monet was not interested in creating an exact likeness of the Palazzo Dario- he was also not a realist, but that he wanted the beauty of his work to contend with the actually beauty of the architecture.4
1Pissarro, Monet on the Mediterranean, 160.
2 Seitz, Claude Monet, 124.
3 Wildenstein, Monet: Or the Triumph of Impressionism, 388-389.
4 Seitz, Claude Monet, 124.