Books and Prints by the Manfrin House in Venice between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. First Considerations
Manfrin’s gallery in Venice has been one of the most famous private collections assembled in the Venetian Republic at the end of the eighteenth century, becoming a must-to-see for visitors and artists during the following century. Recent literature addressed mainly his painting collection, shedding light on its history and dispersal, while less attention has been paid to his library and print cabinet, both formed and increased from the last years of Settecento onwards. New documentary sources allow us to explore more in detail the taste for ancient and modern prints and the contents of the library, which was physically incorporated into the last room of the painting gallery and whose importance for the presence of art history publications, illustrated books and volumes of prints, was pointed out in the guides of contemporary writers and critics such as Giannantonio Moschini and Francesco Zanotto. This essay covers a lacuna in the studies on Venetian collecting during the period comprised between the fall of the Republic and the establishment of the Austrian government, providing a preliminary survey of what was until now a missing chapter in the reconstruction of the cultural ‘tradition’ that Girolamo Manfrin and his son Pietro tempted to obtain in the Venetian society of the time.