Francesco Guardi (1712-93), The Bucintoro Festival of Venice. The Bacino di S. Marco with the 'Bucintoro', the Doge's State Barge, on Ascension Day, 1780-93
On the Canale di San Marco the barge of the Doge, Il Bucintoro, sails with its stem pointed towards the
Riva degli Schiavoni. The pink façade of the Doge’s Palace and the bell tower of St Mark’s Church serve as
clear points of reference.
On the barge the doge is joined by the ministers of state, older aristocratic representatives from the municipal government, and prominent foreign guests.
The waters are crowded by countless gondolas accompanying the distinguished party to the Lido to celebrate the doge’s annual ritual nuptials with the ocean on Ascension Day.
A peculiar tradition
This peculiar tradition was founded back when Venice was a leading international commercial town. During the ritual, the doge casts a golden ring into the ocean with the words:
”In segno di eterno dominio, Noi, Doge di Venezia, ti sposiamo, o mare!" (As a sign of eternal supremacy, we, the Doge of Venice, do marry thou, O Sea!)
Francesco Guardi lived and worked in Venice his entire life and made its many festivities and everyday life and manners his favourite theme.