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Italian to English: Section of a text about frescoes painted by Francesco Hayez General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: History
Source text - Italian Il completamento del decoro delle volte con monocromi a racemi, con medaglioni di teste e caducei, era assegnato al pittore Giuseppe Borsato, con il quale Hayez stava già lavorando in quello stesso periodo agli affreschi di Palazzo Reale e di alcune civili abitazioni tra Padova e Venezia. Ad altri artigiani venivano affidati i lavori edili, di falegnameria e di carpenteria metallica per risanare e rendere accoglienti questi ambienti che vennero inaugurati il 30 settembre del 1819.
Il lavoro di Francesco Hayez, innovativo nella disposizione dei soggetti e nell’uso dei colori distribuiti con rapide pennellate in quegli spazi non certo agevoli e poco luminosi, non venne apprezzato da Leopoldo Cicognara, direttore dell’Accademia delle arti di Venezia, il più influente e indiscusso arbitro del gusto e delle tendenze artistiche dell’epoca. Questi, infatti, dopo aver visto gli affreschi della Borsa, come riporta testualmente lo stesso Hayez nelle sue Memorie, lo consigliò di lasciare quel genere di pittura decorativa, benché assai remunerativa, per tornare a dipingere tele a cavalletto dove l’artista veneziano non avrebbe sprecato il suo notevole talento.
Non meno severo nel giudizio fu Emanuele Antonio Cicogna, testimone attento della Venezia di metà Ottocento oltre che uomo eruditissimo e accorto collezionista, il quale ebbe modo di seguire da vicino la creazione e la realizzazione dei due cicli di affreschi, in quanto era impiegato come cancelliere al Tribunale di Corte d’Appello che allora aveva sede in Palazzo Ducale. Alla data del 2 agosto 1819, così scrive nei suoi Diari:
“Il pittore Hayez dipinse tutte le mezze lune nelle due stanze nuove a pian terreno del cortile del Palazzo, ad uso de’mercanti e ch’erano prima gli atrii per via d’acqua del Palazzo stesso. I colori sono vivi, ma il disegno e l’invenzion è cattiva. Oltre di che il salso a quest’ora comincia a far sentire i suoi danni a questi affreschi.”
Translation - English The remainder of the decoration of the vaults consisting of monochromatic racemes, and medallions of heads and caducei, was assigned to the painter Giuseppe Borsato, with whom Hayez was already working during that period on the frescoes of the Royal Palace and on some private dwellings between Padua and Venice. Other artisans were entrusted with the construction, joinery and structural metal work projects, so these rooms could be refurbished and made welcoming. They were inaugurated on 30 September 1819.
The work done by Francesco Hayez, who was innovative in the arrangement of his subjects and in the use of colours that he spread with rapid brush strokes onto those spaces that were difficult to access and had little light, did not receive much praise from Leopoldo Cicognara, President of the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, and the most influential and undisputed arbiter of taste and artistic trends at that time. Indeed, having seen the Borsa frescoes, Cicognara - as Hayez himself recorded word for word in his Memoirs - advised him to quit that genre of decorative painting, although it paid well, and go back to painting canvases on his easel, an activity which would not see the considerable talent of the Venetian artist go to waste.
Equally harsh judgement came from Emanuele Antonio Cicogna, a keen observer of mid-nineteenth century Venice as well as a very learned man and shrewd collector. Cicogna was able to follow close up the creation and execution of the two cycles of frescoes, because he was employed as Clerk of the Court of Appeal, which was housed in the Palazzo Ducale at that time. On the day of 2 August 1819, this is what he wrote in his Diaries:
'The painter Hayez painted all the lunettes in the two new rooms on the ground floor of the Palace courtyard, the ones to be used by the merchants and that used to be the waterway atriums of the Palace itself. The colours are vivid, but the design and the invention are poor. In addition to which, the salt is already beginning to damage these frescoes.'
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