Francesco Guardi was a son of the northern Italian Baroque painter Domenico Guardi (1678-1716) from the Trentino and Maria Claudia Pichler. His brothers were Giovanni Antonio Guardi (1699-1760) and Nicolò Guardi, his sister Cecilia Guardi married Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), the 1756 Chairman of the Academy. Francesco Guardi was there since 1747 member. He made his son Jacopo turn out to be a painter.
Until the death of his brother Antonio in 1760 Francesco worked in the paint shop of the family, in which also the younger brother Nicolò worked. He painted at the beginning of his career, first altarpieces, but as a student and follower of Canaletto, he focused after he had left the city, on vistas. He first chose the same motives, especially Venetian views that Canaletto had painted so often and with great success. However, his paintings differ from those of the late Canaletto by most lively light and shade effects, a dramatically increased, free and impulsive style of painting that appears with some impasto application of paint, the impressionistic painting - seems to anticipate - in the sense of light and color. Guardi held, unlike Canaletto, in favor of a picturesque effect to be less accurate topographic conditions. Some of his pictures are capriccio, the picturesque compilation of both existing and fictional architecture and landscapes.
Guardi received commissions from private patrons and by the Republic of Venice, as the cycle of the twelve festivals for the Doge Alvise IV Mocenigo. In 1782 he documented in four paintings the visit of Pope Pius VI. in Venice. On the occasion of the visit of the Russian Grand Prince couple in the city, he painted the festivities, which were organized in whose honor. Images such as these are today valuable historical and artistic features of life and everyday life but also festivals in Venice in the 18th century.
From Guardi there except the vistas and the images of Venetian festivals a large number of genre scenes, such as the Sprechsaal of the nuns of San Zaccaria, which provide a lively and colorful picture of the fashions and customs of the Venetian aristocracy.
His pictures have a clear, uniform illumination and are distinguished by their impressive atmosphere. They are stronger and richer than those of his teacher in color, but in less detail in the drawing. Despite such differences, his paintings were repeatedly attributed his famous teacher.
- Gate to the Arsenal in Venice
- Piazza San Marco with a view of the Basilica, 1760
- View of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi from; Ca ' Rezzonico in Venice,
- Concert, 1782, Munich, Alte Pinakothek
- The balloon ascent of Count Zambeccari 1784, Berlin, Staatliche Gemäldegalerie
- The Sprechsaal, Ca 'Rezzonico in Venice
- The Doge Alvise IV Mocenigo on the Bucintoro at San Nicolò in Lido, Paris, Musee du Louvre
- The Feast of Corpus Christi on the Piazzetta, 1782
- The fire in the neighborhood of San Marcuola, 1789
- The Doge's Palace in Venice; National Gallery, London
- Consulting the nuns at San Zaccaria Convent; Ca ' Rezzonico
- Concert in the Old Magistrates Munich, Alte Pinakothek
- Capriccio, Aldo Crespi Collection,
- Palace stairs
- Francesco Guardi. A cura Alberto Craievich Filippo Pedrocco. Venice Museo Correr, 2012.