Arthur Melville
The Blue Night, Venice 1897

Artwork details

Arthur Melville 1855–1904
The Blue Night, Venice
Date 1897
Medium Watercolour and gouache on board
Dimensions Support: 864 x 610 mm
frame: 1210 x 952 x 30
Acquisition Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1940
Not on display

Display caption

Arthur Melville travelled to Venice in 1894. The city had long been a favourite subject for painters, but Melville found something new. The Blue Night shows St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Campanile dissolving into the dusk.

Melville evolved a new watercolour method. He saturated the paper with Chinese white paint and used sponges to create a velvet-like texture. Before applying the paint, he tried out ideas on pieces of glass held over the painting. Colour, such as the blue used here, drew attention not just to the subject of the work, but to the medium itself.

October 2013

About this artwork