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Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 231
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 240 x 311 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left (1-2); replaced with new butterfly (3-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.190; M.187
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


arch, canal, courtyard, gondola, ferry, lantern, man, palace, , people, tree, worker.


There are minor variations in the title, as follows:

'Traghetto' (1891, Whistler). 2
'The Traghetto' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 3
'The Traghetto. No. 1' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4
'The Traghetto, No. 1' (1910, E.G. Kennedy). 5

'Traghetto' is Whistler's original title. This etching can be confused with the later version of the scene, The Traghetto 233, which is unavoidable.

2: Whistler to F. Keppel, 13 May 1891, GUW #13068.

3: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 368).

4: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 187).

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 190).


In the centre is a broad arch, the entrance to a dark passageway underneath a building, leading to a canal. The passage is roofed with beams, and lit, towards the far end, by a lantern. A seated man can be seen beyond the passage, at the left, and the canopy of a gondola on the right. In the foreground, in a courtyard, three slender trees are growing. In the wall to left of the arch is a window with lozenge-shaped panes, and at the right are two windows. There are men in the right foreground. For later changes, see STATES.


Etching: c_K190_01
The site is the courtyard of the Ca’ da Mosto, north of the Rialto bridge in the district of Cannaregio, Venice, Italy. 6 This view, drawn accurately on the copper plate, is reversed, as usual, in the print. This is the first version of The Traghetto 233.

6: Grieve 2000[more], pp. 83–84.