According to an ancient tradition on Ascension day the Venetian Doge would sail to the Adriatic Sea and toss a gold ring into its waters as a symbol of union with the sea for the future prosperity of Venice and her fleet, beginning and ending his journey by the Doge's Palace and St Mark's Cathedral. This festival was frequently portrayed by Canaletto and his workshop. The picture here shows a lively, festive scene with gondolas darting about, a crowded embankment and the Doge's golden vessel, the Buccentoro standing by the pier. The busy canal is contrasted with the majestic splendor of the town itself, the proud bell-tower, the domes of St Mark's cathedral, the arcades of St Mark's library, the Gothic lace of the Doge's Palace, and the granite columns and palazzos. The even sunlight and the barely perceptible bluish haze of the damp air unite the architectural landscape with the vast sky.
This painting forms a pair with “Reception for the French Consul in Venice” in the St. Petersburg State Hermitage.
These paintings where commissioned by Jacques Vincent Languet, Count of Jerzi, French Ambassador to the Republic of Venice. The canvas in the Hermitage was completed first, in 1727, while the canvas in the Pushkin Museum recording the presence of the Ambassador at the Assumption celebrations was completed in 1728-1729.