The mysteries of the time of birth and death of Canaletto automatic translate
He was one of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century, but until now the mystery has enveloped everything connected with the dates of his birth and death. It seems that there should be a lot of information about artists like Canaletto, both in books and on the Internet. And this information, in fact, is abundant, but different sources offer different versions, which, at times, difficult even for experienced art critics.
Link: Canaletto art gallery
To find out the exact dates of birth and death of Canaletto, we will go on a little detective trip.
It will begin in the archives of the churches in Venice, where the registers of most births, marriages and deaths in this city are kept. Knowing where he lived Canaletto - in the district of San Lio in Castello - you can find information about his birth. But if you set the year was not difficult, then the number is not so simple. There is a feeling that by copying the book each next author put a new date. The only solution is to look for the source, because this is the only way to establish not only the correct date of birth, but also the reason why later mistakes were made in interpreting this date.
And such a source was found in the library of Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio in Venice and in 1962 it was published. Then it became clear why there were errors in the interpretation of the date - the handwriting of the medieval scribe looked like the spider’s steps on the page. For a long time the date of birth of Canaletto was considered October 28, 1697, although in reality it is October 17. In the source, the number one is written so that it is easy to interpret as a deuce, and the figure seven is read as eight - this is easily seen by analyzing the rest of the records of the parish priest.
In addition to the exact date, from the original birth record, you can learn that Giovanni (Joao) Antonio Canaletto was baptized October 30 by Mr. Polo, the son of the late Vendramina Labretti, who lived in the parish. His parents: Mr. Bernardo Canal, the son of the late Cesare, an artist, and Mrs. Artemisia, daughter of the merchant Carlo Barbieri.
The death certificate of the artist looks, at first glance, simple, but confusion with him is actually even greater. It says: «Canaletto died seven hours after sunset on April 19, 1768 from a fever with inflammation of the bladder, which lasted about five days. He was buried in a common grave under the brotherhood of Santissimo Spirito San Lio. «Thus, the artist had to be a member of the brotherhood, although no records were found about it.
The clergyman made a few mistakes. It follows from the text that Canaletto is buried under the altar of the Holy Communion. In any Catholic church, there is a red candle or a light indicating the presence of the Holy Gifts. In the church of San Lio, it is on the right side of the main altar, and Canaletto is buried there, as indicated, in a common grave. «Brotherhood of Santissimo Spirito» - the wrong name, it simply did not exist, so the artist’s grave was not found for a long time. In fact, there was the city church of San Lio.
The date of death is also questionable. The scribe indicates the date as April 19, the time of death is seven hours after sunset. The next entry in the book dates back on April 20, which looks logical, but further research again destroys the overall picture. Here we must remember that in the XVIII century the Venetians used the 24-hour calculation of time, but their new day began an hour after sunset, the hour of sunset was considered the last, the 24th hour. If Canaletto died 7 hours after sunset, then according to the modern calendar it will be April 20: the time of sunset is April 19 - January 19, the new day begins at 20.01, and seven hours after sunset - 3.01 at the time we are used to.
Thus, the record of death reads: «Signor Antonio, son of Bernardo Canal, at the age of 71, suffering from fever and inflammation of the bladder for five days, died on April 20, 1768.»
Original article: «Solved: the mystery of Canaletto’s birth and death dates», THE ART NEWSPAPER.