The Venetian Mast

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 219
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 344 x 166 mm
Signed: butterfly at left (6-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 12
Known impressions: 57
Catalogues: K.195; M.192; W.160
Impressions taken from this plate  (57)


child, dress, garden, lacemakers, people, street, tree, woman, worker.


There are several minor variations in the title, as follows:

'The Venetian Mast' (1880, F.A.S.). 1
'The Mast' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2
'The Mast' (1887/1888, Whistler). 3
'The Venetian Mast' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4

The original title 'The Venetian Mast' is preferable.

1: F.A.S, [1 December 1880], GUW 12667).

2: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 160).

3: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.

4: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 192).


A view up a wide street, with three- and four-storey buildings on either side. A tall mast topped by a winged lion stands in the street, to right of centre, with halyards looped to a building at the left. In the foreground a boy stands leaning against a wall, with a group of women sitting working, either making lace or threading beads. At the right a man is walking away, and a boy stands at the foot of the mast. There are numerous figures in the distance, mostly clustered around a well, and trees at the far end of the street.


A view looking west up the Calle Larga dello Stendardo, dominated by a mast topped by the Lion of St Mark, in the San Marta area in the city of Venice, Italy. The end of the calle opened onto the Fondamenta de l'Arzere on the lagoon, and there, in front of the trees, was a smaller column, also bearing a Lion. The calle was demolished shortly afterwards, during the redevelopment of the whole area, and the column and mast were moved to the Campo San Nicolo dei Mendicoli. 5 Whistler etched a much smaller mast in The Little Mast [196].

5: Grieve 2000, pp. 54-56, fig. 42.