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Famous People from Venice
(1477 - 1576 )
, Address in Venice: Calle Larga dei Botteri no. 5182-3
Tiziano Vecelli, better known as Titian, was one of the prominent artists during the Renaissance and a renowned Venetian painter as well as a superb portraitist. Museum-goers never cease to admire his use of colour and astounding vibrations of light, for which his works have been treasured all around the world over the centuries. As a result of his first painting, ‘The Three Frescos in Padua’, Titian rose to the height of being appointed the official painter of the Republic of Italy. His most celebrated pieces of art include ‘The Holy Trinity’, ‘Emtombment‘, ‘Pope Paul III’, ‘Self Portrait’, ‘Man in the Red Cap’, ‘Pietro Aretino’, ‘Venus d'Urbino’, ‘King Francis’, ‘Charles V on Horseback’ and ‘Three Ages of Man’.
(1725 - 1798 )
, Address in Venice: Palazzo Malpiero
Although renowned chiefly for his innumerable erotic adventures, Giovanni Giacomo Casanova de Seingalt was more than just the world's most famous womaniser – he was also a soldier, spy, diplomat, writer, prisoner and a businessman. His foremost literary work is his autobiography simply titled ‘History of My Life’. Not only does it give a captivating, if not trustworthy account of his amorous affairs with as many as 122 ladies, but it also offers a thorough portrait of life and customs in the 18th Century. Casanova additionally wrote novels, such as the 5-volume ‘L'Icosameron’ , as well as ‘Ne Amori Ne Donne, Ovvero La Stalla Ripulita’, a satirical pamphlet on Venetian nobility. He also published poetry and translated the ‘Iliad’, but overall these efforts were not successful.
(1895 - 1955 )
, Address in Venice: Grand Hotel des Bains, Lungomare Marconi 17
“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty-this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.”
This Germany-born novelist, essayist and cultural critic is recognised as one of the great writers of the 20th Century. Thomas Mann’s fame is based on his two works, ‘Der Tod in Venedig’ (Death in Venice, 1912) filmed in 1971 by Luchino Visconti, and ‘Der Zauberberg’ (The Magic Mountain, 1924), for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1929. Mann wrote numerous notable works such as: ‘Buddenbrooks’ (1901), the novella ‘Tonio Kroger’ (1902), ‘Kongliche Hoheit’ (1909), ‘Von Deutscher Republik’ (1923), ‘Mario und der Zauberer’ (Mario and the Magician, 1930) as well as the colossal ‘Joseph und Seine Bruder’ (Joseph and his Brothers,1933 – 42). ‘Doktor Faustus’ (1947) was Mann's last distinguished novel.
(1813 - 1883 )
, Address in Venice: Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi on the Grand Canal
Wagner was a conductor, music theorist and essayist who was amazingly productive and consequential as a composer of symphonic-operas (or “music dramas”), in which he included striking chromaticism and atonality. His famous operatic work, ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ (Ring Cycle, 1876), is considered to be the most challenging artistic effort of all time. It took no less than 22 years to finish and consists of four pieces of music: ‘Das Rheingold’, ‘Die Walkure’, ‘Siegfried’ and ‘Die Gotterdammerung’. Wagner composed many outstanding operas such as ‘Der fliegende Holländer’ (The Flying Dutchman), ‘Tristan und Isolde’ (Tristan and Isolde) and the comedy ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg). His final piece is titled ‘Parsifal’.
(1254 - 1324 )
Probably the most famous Italian explorer, Marco Polo was born in the Republic of Venice to a prosperous family of merchants. In 1271, his father, Niccolo, and his uncle, Maffeo, took young Marco with them on their second journey to China with an aim to deliver the Pope's response to Kublai Khan, the Mongolian military leader. During the next seventeen year in China, Marco Polo was sent on diplomatic missions throughout the empire, namely to the south, to Burma and Indo-China, to Tibet in the west, and as far in the north as the city of Karakorum. Apart from that, he was forced by Kublai Khan to be the governor of the commercial city of Yangzhoufor and he performed this duty for three years. When he finally returned to his home in Venice, he had supposedly travelled farther than anybody before him, from Acre on the coast of Palestine, through Persia and Turkistan, across the vast Gobi desert. Marco Polo's name has survived until this day and also serves as the name of the Venetian airport.
George Gordon Noel Byron
(1788 - 1824 )
, Address in Venice: Palazzo Mocenigo, San Marco Grand Canal
"My beautiful, my own
My only Venice - this is breath! Thy breeze
Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face!
Thy very winds feel native to my veins,
And cool them into calmness!" – Byron, ‘The Two Foscari’
The great English Romantic poet, George Gordon Noel Byron (or Lord Byron) was born in London. As popular a figure as he was, his poetry seized the heart and imagination of Europe. Lord Byron gave literature a new “Byronic hero” – a rebellious youth who dwells on an unforgivable incident in the past. It was not until Byron wrote his poetic travelogue, ‘Childe Harold's Pilgrimage’ (1812 – 18), a collection of verses on his travels across Europe, that he experienced true success and appreciation. Throughout his career, he published many pieces of poetry that include ‘The First Kiss of Love’ (1806), ‘The Giaour’ (1813), ‘The Corsair’ (1814), ‘She Walks in Beauty’ (1814), ‘Prometheus’ (1816), ‘Manfred’ (1817), ‘Beppo’ (1818) and ‘Cain’ (1821). However, his magnum opus is considered to be a narrative poem entitled ‘Don Juan’ (1819 – 24).
Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto)
(1697 - 1768 )
This Italian painter gained renown for his landscapes of Venice, called ‘Vedute’. He was born to an artistic family, as his father was a painter as well as his nephew, Bernardo Bellotto(1720 – 1780). Having served an apprenticeship with his father, Giovanni Antonio began his career as a theatrical scene painter; however, he devoted himself to depicturing daily city life. He studied under the older Luca Carlevaris and soon became his master's equal. Among Canaletto's famous works, the two that hold the most renown are ‘Piazzetta’ (1733 – 1735) and ‘The Grand Canal at the Salute Church’ (1738 – 1742). Being noticed by the British merchant Joseph Smith, who later promoted his accurate and perfectly sun-filled paintings in England, Canaletto decided to move to London in 1746, and remained there for nearly ten years, producing pictures of the English capital. Back in Venice, he became a member of the Venetian Academy in 1763.
(1678 - 1741 )
, Address in Venice: Riva Degli Schiavoni 4150
A native of Venice, Vivaldi was a priest and composer of Baroque music. He is particularly known for his violin concertos, four of which he arranged together in the series ‘Four Seasons’ (1723), which is still frequently performed. His father, Giovanni Battista, was a professional violinist, and he toured Venice taking young Antonio with him. In 1693, Vivaldi began his studies to become a priest and was ordained at the age of 25, soon gaining the nickname Il Prete Rosso, “The Red Priest”. In 1706, because of health problems, Vivaldi had to withdraw from active priesthood. He worked at a school for orphans instead, teaching his pupils music, but also devoting himself to composing. Except for concertos, he is also known for his fourty-six operas, seventy-three sonatas, numerous sinfonias and sacred music.