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The papers published here are the product of a symposium hosted by the Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice (Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani) on 11 and 12 May 2001. I would like to thank Dr. Susanne Winter, the head of the Studienzentrum, and Mrs. Giovanna Dettin for organising the event. The occasion for the conference was an exhibition – which later travelled to Dresden – of the work of Anton Raphael Mengs at the Fondazione Palazzo Zabarella in Padua, which contributed an important part of the colloquium’s funding, for which thanks are due to the President of the Fondazione, Mr. Federico Bano.

The idea for a scientific colloquium to complement the exhibition originated from a knowledge deficit concerning the manifold points of contact between Roman classicism – Mengs being one of its protagonists – and the Venetian cultural sphere. The reciprocal contacts of the Dresden court and its art with Venice, a city that also acted as a cultural interface with Rome, served as a point of departure for this endeavour. Mengs’ own development and ideas are a case in point: It is no accident that it was the German artist who rediscovered the importance of Titian as a colourist. Yet when this constellation is placed in a wider context beyond individual examples, its epochal significance reveals itself. This was the goal of the symposium, which also focussed on the architectural reception of antiquity as well as engravings and prints.
Compared to previous examinations of the artistic relations between Venice and the North, and between Venice and Rome, the texts assembled here take a somewhat different overall view. Art-historical efforts to survey the eighteenth-century interaction between Venice and the North have thus far been concentrated on the work of notable Venetian artists at the courts north of the Alps and on the resulting indirect influence of Venetian painting on European developments. This approach was illustrated by the 'Glory of Venice' exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1994. The current reception of Venice’s cosmopolitan nature as a fertile breeding ground for the arts typically follows in Francis Haskell’s footsteps. Therefore, the close cultural and artistic links between Venice and Northern Europe, particularly England, are well represented, whereas the situation from the German perspective, for instance the Saxon electors’ trips to and acquisitions of art in Venice, has received scant attention. One of the few exceptions is the catalogue of the 1999 Pietro Rotari exhibition in Dresden – a Venetian painter who worked in Dresden from 1755 and later in St. Petersburg.
From the Northerners‘ point of view, Venice – visited before or after Rome – was the first and, apart from Rome and Naples, also the most important destination in Italy, rather than just one of many. To the prominent travellers from the North, the allure of the city on the lagoon rested in no small part on the baroque spectacle of its festivities and the carnival, as Wiebke Fastenrath Vinattieri’s paper demonstrates. But her report on the Saxon Electoral Prince’s grand tour (1738-1740) also highlights the artistic and cultural stimuli, which a traveller of his standing received during his encounter with Italy. The impact of the cultural relations between Dresden and Venice extended beyond the visual arts to music and literature. By virtue of her diverse musical and literary interests, the Saxon Electoral Princess Maria Antonia, a Bavarian princess by birth, from 1747 onwards became a lynchpin of this transalpine exchange, which is exemplified by names such as Johann Adolf Hasse, Nicola Porpora and Pietro Metastasio. This is the subject of Christine Fischer’s paper, which – based on a monographic review of the musical production of the Electoral Princess – examines the musical connections between Dresden and Venice in the domain of Opera seria. One of the most important intermediaries between Venice and Germany was Francesco Algarotti. His interlude in Dresden, sandwiched between two stays at the court of Frederick II of Prussia, had a marked effect on the musical life as well as the future patronage of the visual arts at the Saxon court. Algarotti’s fellow lover of pastel paintings, Augustus III, invited Felicitas Sartori, a pupil of and assistant to Rosalba Carriera, to Dresden in 1741. Her œuvre, of excellent quality but largely unpublished, is considered in Helga Puhlmann’s post-conference paper, which is the result of her research carried out in the Dresden collections and a significant addition to this publication as it corresponds particularly well with the symposium’s theme.
An essential but underrated aspect of eighteenth-century cultural transfers concerns the relationship between Venice and Rome. Culturally and politically, the capital of the Papal States was traditionally regarded as the 'Serenissima's opposite, especially in its artistic alignment. This notion, established since the time of Romanticism, does not always do justice to eighteenth-century realities. My own paper attempts to explore the preliminary stages and the consequences of this antagonism between 'disegno' and 'colore', whose roots can be traced back to Vasari, while assessing this 'concetto's practical and art-theoretical implications for the eighteenth century.
In actual fact, the points of contact between eighteenth-century Rome and Venice were more numerous than is generally appreciated today. This becomes particularly evident when the Veneto territory, ruled by the 'Serenissima', is taken into account. Comprising cities such as Padua, Bassano and Vicenza, this was a region of considerable political and cultural potential. The efforts originating here to revive classical architectural norms are well recognised, and underscored by names such as Carlo Lodoli, Francesco Algarotti and Tommaso Temanza. Filippo Farsetti, who acquired an extensive and first-rate collection of sculpture and casts in Rome between 1749 and 1753, was an important early protagonist of the Venetian alignment with Roman standards. His collection was accessible to the Venetian public from 1755, with the young Canova amongst those drawing inspiration from it. From 1753, Farsetti had the Roman architect Paolo Posi, a native of Siena, build him a villa in the Roman style at S. Maria di Sala near Padua, with Rome’s Villa Albani serving as its intellectual blueprint. The appearance of this villa, which was never completed, is reconstructed by Loris Vedovato on the basis of designs and descriptions. The villa’s most important element was to have been a Roman 'Circus', which Farsetti had asked Clerisseau to design. The essay published here anticipates an extensive monograph on the villa in preparation by the author.
Another significant – and certainly the most consequential – chapter in the history of the relations between Venice and the Veneto on the one and Rome and the Papal States on the other hand was written by the Rezzonico family. The artistic consequences of these new political connections are reviewed in Giuseppe Pavanello’s paper, which is not included here. It has been published instead, with a slightly different emphasis (Rapporti tra Venezia e Roma in età neoclassica), in a collection of essays devoted to a similar subject and objective, but putting the accent on Rome’s contacts with Venice and Naples: Enzo Borsellino / Vittorio Casale (eds.): Roma: „il tempio del vero gusto“. La Pittura del Settecento romano e la sua diffusione a Venezia e a Napoli, Florence 2001.
In 1762 Clement XIII Rezzonico, who had his portrait painted by Mengs, inaugurated the Villa Albani, regarded as a symbol of the new classical ideals and the epitome of Winckelmann’s and Mengs’ ideas. Prior to being elected Pope in 1758, Rezzonico had served as bishop of Padua for fifteen years. Once raised to the Chair of St. Peter, he favoured his former diocese with opulent gifts, the quality of which is illustrated by the sumptuous paraments from a Roman workshop. Unfortunately, the paper on this subject given at the symposium by Andrea Nante, the conservator of the 'Museo Diocesano' in Padua, was not available for this publication.
One of the first to propagate and benefit from the Rezzonico’s art patronage – in spite of having moved to Rome many years before – was Giovanni Battista Piranesi, in his dual roles as etcher and architect. He is the most prominent of the artists within the domain of interaction between Venice and Rome, which was covered by the conference. However, this aspect is surprisingly rarely addressed by Piranesi studies, thorough and revealing as they are. In his contribution, the result of the conference’s concluding evening presentation, Jörg Garms offers a synthesis of Piranesi’s varied references to the art of his home town, sustained throughout his years in Rome, where he continued to call himself 'architetto veneziano'.
A generation later, Piranesi’s example was followed by the engraver Giovanni Volpato from Bassano. His career took him from a Bassano printer’s via Venice and Parma to Rome in 1771. While Piranesi created an image of Rome that monumentally and romantically glorified antiquity, whetting travellers’ appetites and stimulating their imagination, Volpato devoted his efforts to the dissemination of Rome’s classical cultural assets in the fields of painting and sculpture. His 'vedute' of the new pontifical museum, his biscuit porcelain modelled after antiques and above all his engravings after Raphael’s Vatican Loggie spawned a new decorating taste. Corinna Höper retraces the steps of Volpato’s exceptional success and, using the example of his engravings after Raphael’s Loggie, uncovers the engraver’s independent contribution to the borders, which were a major factor in the popularity of these prints in the late eighteenth century. Volpato also became one of the key advocates of the young Canova, in whose work the habitual antagonism between Rome and Venice was to ultimately evaporate. One of Canova’s most important patrons – himself a mediator between Venice and Rome – was Don Abbondio Rezzonico, who as Senator of Rome resided in the Senatorial Palace on the Capitoline Hill from 1765 until 1809 and transformed it into a magnificent residence admired by Goethe.
The origins of a newly elected pope always occasioned a reshuffling of the framework for cultural politics and thus for art. The rise of the Rezzonico to the highest social strata created new routes and possibilities for artistic contacts between Venice and Rome. Venetian artists now had a port of call in Rome, which fostered the formation of a Venetian faction with close ties to Roman art production and taste, as well as reverberations in Venice. The painter Pier Antonio Novelli, for instance, drew on his Roman experience and lessons for his work back in Venice. Michael Brunner’s paper, a preview of his research still in progress, is devoted to this subject.
Classical prototypes also shaped the work of Andrea Memmo, who conceived the 'Pra della Valle' in Padua, a kind of open-air pantheon outside the city gates and one of the first public promenades in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Memmo also published the writings of Lodoli and was in touch with José Nicolas de Azara and Francesco Milizia in Rome, who had looked after the publication of Mengs’ works in 1780. Susanna Pasquali’s paper investigates Memmo’s little-known roles as a theoretician, reformer and the publisher of the works of Padre Lodoli, while demonstrating that Venice’s intellectual elite were early adopters of European Enlightenment ideals.
The intended interdisciplinary and bicultural panorama of the contributions to this colloquium, published in Italian and German with the respective abstracts, would not have been possible without a broadening of horizons to encompass intercultural and literary terrain. In order to achieve this dimension, no one could be more widely acknowledged or qualified than Lea Ritter Santini, whose scientific and literary output covers the literary and cultural interactions between Italy and Germany which evolved in the Enlightenment and extend into the twentieth century. She fielded my questions with patience and empathy; her answers were succinct and substantial in equal measure, unfurling the wealth of her knowledge of a cultural network into which eighteenth-century German relations with Venice are inscribed and whose fascination has yet to fade. In gratitude and friendship, I would like to extend my special thanks to her.
For initiating this publication, I am grateful to Gudrun Gersmann and Hubertus Kohle, who have made it possible to present the results of the conference, which would otherwise have remained unpublished, in this progressive new forum of scientific exchange. The adaptation of the texts to an unaccustomed medium has benefited from their generous and unstinting support. Sincere thanks are also due to Sabine Büttner at RWTH Aachen and Valentina Baldauf at LMU Munich, who looked after the practical side of this 'translation'. Finally, I would like to thank the authors, whose patience was severely tested before the results of their research reached publication, and who have consented to give up the accustomed form of a compact book. I trust that they will be amply compensated by superior feedback from the scientific community, facilitated by the new medium and its growing user base.
Munich, 09 December 2003
Steffi Roettgen