Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day

The Bucentaur, or 'Bucintoro' was the great Venetian vessel of state. Every year on Ascension Day, the doge left the Molo and put out into the Adriatic to perform the ceremony of the symbolic Wedding of Venice to the Sea by casting a gold ring into the water. Market stalls have been set up in the Piazzetta for the event. The barge - shown here on its return to land - was the last 'Bucintoro', built in 1724 and destroyed when Napoleon overthrew the Venetian Republic. During recent conservation an inscription on the back of the canvas was revealed, confirming the date: 'Io, Antonio Canal, detto il Canalletto [sic], fecit - 1760' ['I, Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, made this - 1760'].

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