Giuseppe Zais (Forno di Canale d’Agordo 1709 – Treviso 1784), Two landscapes with figures

Artist: Giuseppe Zais (Forno di Canale d’Agordo 1709-Treviso 1784)
Title: Two landscapes with figures
Medium: Gouache on paper
Dimensions: cm 43 x 51 each
Period: Second half of the 18th century

These two beautiful unpublished gouaches depict placid countryside landscapes furrowed with calm and clear streams that reflect the blue of the sky. Leafy trees, a few houses with thatched roofs, ancient towers nearby and afar, figures of fishermen, washerwomen and wayfarers, some farm animals and in the distance blue mountains all evoke peaceful idyllic rather than fatiguing places, and where time slows down (so different from what we experience in our days). The human figures are conversing and contemplating nature. They are landscapes that most certainly derive from real life, though rendered and refined to an Arcadian ideal. […]

The style and top quality of these works allow us to identify the Artist as being the Agordian painter Giuseppe Zais, possibly in the period of his full maturity. In fact, probative comparisons can be made with a number of his other works: the closest one being the beautiful canvas depicting a “Landscape with female figures” that is kept at Basildon Park (Reading), National Trust. In these two scenes, we can equally see not only the influence of Marco Ricci, who is from Belluno like Zais and who was also a great master in the medium of gouache and frequented by him in Venice, but especially also the influence of Francesco Zuccarelli’s delicate Arcadia.