The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

By Pompeo Molmenti; Gustav Ludwig et al. | Go to book overview

PREFACE

I MUST ask the kind indulgence of the reader if I set down here a few personal recollections, not in a spirit of self- advertisement, but with the intention of showing how much of this book is due to myself and how much to my dear friend and respected collaborator, GUSTAV LUDWIG.

Some five-and-twenty years since, the school of Modern Venetian Art, in a burst of renewed vigour, cast off the trammels of worn-out academic formalism and drew fresh strength from Nature--freely but carefully studied in all her moods. A group of young painters combined their untiring quest for truth with a passionate devotion to two craftsmen of the past, Carpaccio and Tiepolo. The tender light of the dawn of Venetian painting as well as the effulgent radiance of its decline aroused in them feelings similar in their force and in their lofty aspiration; and thus Tiepolo and Carpaccio, both so great and yet so unlike in their greatness, were linked together by these young men in a common bond of admiration. Living as I did in daily intercourse with these my contemporaries, sharing their enthusiasm and their intellectual conditions, I delivered a lecture on Carpaccio1 in 1881, which I followed up four years later with a book entitled Il Carpaccio e il Tiepolo.2 The lecture is a mere piece of academic rhetoric, worthless as criticism; and little more can be said for the book, in which artistic enthusiasm hardly compensates for the absence of new material.

These youthful labours of mine were succeeded in 1893 by another essay on Carpaccio, written in French,3 in which I can at least claim to have contributed some new facts to the story of the painter's life. Henceforward, shaping a steadier course, I combined my researches and published the results in a number of periodicals

____________________
1
Vittore Carpaccio. A Lecture delivered on August 7th, 1881, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Bologna: Zanichelli, 1881.
2
Turin: Roux, 1885.
3
Carpaccio, son Temps et son (Euvre. Venise: Ongania, MDCCCXCIII.

-xix-

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