This drawing is one of the nearly one hundred pastels James McNeill Whistler executed in Venice in 1879-80 on a commission to make etchings for the Fine Art Society, London. Whistler's Venetian pastels fall into two categories: piquant, sometimes raw, color impressions of city and harbor; and architectural vignettes, like this example, closely related to some of his etchings. http://met.org/2DsG2JW
Featured Artwork of the Day: James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834–1903) | Note in Pink and Brown | ca. 1880
James McNeil Whistler’s "Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl" radically anticipates some of the themes of modern art in the way the artist carefully balanced a realistic treatment of his subject with attention to the formal qualities of the composition. Whistler added the first half of the title, a reference to the predominantly white palette, in the early 1870’s to reinforce his view of "The White Girl" as a formalist aesthetic statement rather than a traditional portrait.