The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

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

CHAPTER II
THE FAMILY, PLACE OF ORIGIN, AND LIFE OF CARPACCIO

CARPACCIO'S pictures, so faithful a mirror of Venetian life in the fifteenth century, make us naturally curious to know something more of the personality of this delightful artist; but his image, after the passage of so long a time, has not come down to us with sufficient clearness to allow of our discovering all the intimate ties that unite the man to the artist. We must therefore content ourselves with giving to the reader those scraps of information which, during many years of assiduous research, we have been able to trace regarding his family and private life.

Vasari, speaking of the many Venetian and Lombard painters,1 places Vittore Scarpaccia first of all; and he was always considered as a Venetian until the nineteenth century, when Canon Stancovich of Capodistria, out of devotion to his native place, put forward and maintained with considerable heat the hypothesis that Carpaccio was a native of Istria.2 And until recently, when new documents removed the error, we too were glad to restore this Italian celebrity to a noble, brave and unhappy country that is and wishes to be Italian. But historical fact admits of no sentimental compromise, and a note diligent investigations and maturer study have shown that Vettor Carpaccio was born in Venice of a family originally of Mazzorbo, an island in the diocese of Torcello.

Carlo Ridolfi had already stated that Carpaccio came of a Venetian family ennobled by long citizenship;3 and Anton Maria Zanetti speaks of the ancient citizen family of Scarpazza extinct in 1760.4 Luigi Lanzi, whom modern research proves more than ever to have been an historian and critic of singular accuracy, warmly

____________________
1
Vasari, Op. cit., p. 627.
2
Stancovich Can. Pietro, Biografia degli uomini distinti dell' Istria, 2nd ed. Capodistria, 1878. The first edition of this work was published in 1829.
3
Ridolfi, Le meraviglie dell' arte, cit., p. 61.
4
Zanetti, Della pittura Veneziana, I. i. Venezia: Tosi, 1777.

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