Continental European after 1800, Sculpture 115 Is this by Giacomo Manzoni (active 1909 or earlier)? Could we find his birth and death dates, and examples of his work and signature?

WMR_RAOM_2003_1806_001
Topic: Artist

This sculptor is not to be confused with the Giacomo Manzoni (b.1908) who adopted the pseudonym Giacomo Manzù and was a noted twentieth-century Italian sculptor.

Given the sitter's dates and his appearance here, the work can be dated c.1890s.

Jacinto Regalado, Entry reviewed by Art UK

115 comments

The Royal Academy of Music comments:

‘We found we also have a letter in our collection from the daughter of the sitter, Rosa Costanza Piatti-Lochis. She writes, in the letter dated 31 January 1910: “I most heartily thank the Royal Academy of Music in London for having kindly accepted the bust of Alfred Piatti, a work done by the sculptor Signor Giacomo Manzoni of Bergamo and presented to the Royal Academy by his favourite pupil and faithful friend, Mr. W. E. Whitehouse, who has kindly undertaken to do this for me.”

The letter has been digitised and you can read it here: https://bit.ly/3g6Lq5z

When we were uploading our sculpture records, it was suggested that the artist could be (Giovanni) Carlo Manzoni as his dates tally with those of Alfredo Piatti and the donation of the bust. However, the letter from Rosa Costanza Piatti-Lechis gives the name of the artist as Giacomo Manzoni of Bergamo. The bust itself has the inscription G. Manzoni on the back, and the plaque on the plinth is inscribed ‘Giacomo Manzoni’. I would have assumed that the plaque was created using the information given by the sitter’s daughter. However, it could be that she got the name of the sculptor wrong.

(Giovanni) Carlo Manzoni (1856-1910) was born near Milan. He trained as a sculptor in Turin before moving to Britain where he made his name in pottery, associated first with Della Robbia Pottery in Birkenhead, before founding Minerva Art Ware Manufacturers in Hanley. He also lived in London c.1899.

However, if you compare the inscription on our bust with an example of a vase mark by Carlo Manzoni, they are quite different.
https://bit.ly/3hKrvdi
https://bit.ly/30X0wUP
https://bit.ly/30T36eK

As Jacinto has already said, we would need to make sure that this sculptor is not confused with Giacomo ‘Manzu’ Manzoni.

Once we can return to the Academy, we will check our Committee Minutes to see if there is any additional information relating to this gift that might shed more light on the identity of the artist and the date the bust was created.’

Andy Mabbett,

There is a reference to (presumably) this piece, in The Manchester Guardian 23 October 1910, on page 5:

"... who was professor at the Academy The bust is the work of Signor Giacomo Manzoni of Bergamo and is said to be an excellent portrait..."

Unfortunately I have no access to the full text.

Jacinto Regalado,

The sitter, an eminent cellist, was long a fixture in London's musical scene. He was from Bergamo and had a villa by Lake Como, where he apparently spent part of the year, especially in the last part of his life. Thus, the bust could have been made in London or in Italy by either the "English" Manzoni or a different one in Lombardy (the name is a rather common one).

Bergamo is near Milan, but it is not clear precisely where Giovanni Carlo Manzoni was born. Interestingly, Giacomo Manzù was also from Bergamo, but he could not possibly have made this bust (and he does not appear to have had any relative who was a sculptor, including his father).

Jacinto Regalado,

If the sculptor's given name was indeed Giacomo, as appears to be the case, that excludes Manzoni the ceramics artist.

Jacinto Regalado,

The sitter spent the last months of his life living with his daughter, the Countess Lochis, at her residence a few miles from Bergamo, where he died. She was the donor of the bust, which was delivered for her to the RAM by Piatti's pupil, the cellist William Whitehouse. I tend to believe that the bust was commissioned by her from a sculptor both from and based in Lombardy where she lived, possibly in Milan.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

The sculptor of the bust was certain Giacomo Manzoni of Calusco (Calusco D'adda, Bergamo), b. 1870 - d. 1910, an homonym of the most famous Manzù. His small catalogue comprehends a medallion sculpted over the tomb - gravestone of the the lawyer and deputy Federico Maironi (d. 10/02/1906, probably settled into Bergamo Cemetery) , a carved on wood and painted processional "Madonna Assunta "(referred , into a memory composed by pope John - Giovanni XIII for the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin of August fifteen 1961 "though beautiful and vigorous " and said as gifted to the local and homonym parish by the priest and close familiar Carlo Marinelli in 1919) of 4 quintals and the bust of the violoncellist Alfredo Piatti (b. , Bergamo, 08/01/1822 -d. , Mozzo,18 /07/1901, very famous as first violoncello into her majesty's Theatre orchestra) in two versions, one kept into the Donizzetti Theatre in Bergamo , the other reported as present in London across 1910. Of the London version, probably the one submitted at our attention, there's an account given by the necrology of the sculptor himself, published into the famous italian review "Ars and Labor" : " (died) In Bergamo , at 40, Giacomo Manzoni, modest and valorous student of the Carrara Academy. Manzoni executed two greatly similar busts of the violoncellist Piatti of those, one can be found into the Theatre Donizetti, the other in London ". Rosa Piatti, an excellent piano player and daughter of the sitter of the over mentioned bust, was married to the count Carlo Lochis (a member of the very famous family of patrons that have gifted the Carrara Gallery in Bergamo of a great amount of masterpieces , as the Saint Sebastian of Raphael) and at her death , occurred between 1915 - 1916 obliged his son Alfredo to gift 2000 selected pieces from her important musical library to the Pia Scuola Musicale Gaetano Donizzetti of Bergamo (a local philanthropic musical association) through the last wills registered by the notary Francesco Finardi. The same noble woman was herself a patron of the Carrara Academy and also a collector of drawings and prints , sold only across 1935 and 1936 to the Venetian art dealer and collector Ferruccio Asta . Some of the pieces of this probably huge and important collection are divided into many cabinet of drawings of the most important Museums of the world (as the British Museum ) and can be sometimes found as sold into some art auctions , or by relevant subjects very active into the field of the commerce and market of old masters' drawings .

REFERENCES

S. N., In memoria in: GIULIO RICORDI (direttore ), rivista mensile illustrata , Musica e Musicisti, Vol. 9, Ricordi, Milano,1910, 65 (a) , p. 742 (consulted into: http://digitale.bnc.roma.sbn.it/tecadigitale/giornale/TO00177086/1910/v.2/00000334 ) .

BORTOLO BELOTTI, Storia di Bergamo e dei Bergamaschi, Vol. 8, Bergamo , Grafiche Bolis, 1989 ( I ed.: Ceschina, Milano, 1940-1959), p. 226.

GIOVANNI XXIII, Il giornale dell'anima e altri scritti di pietà, Edizioni di Storia e di Letteratura , Roma ,1975 (VIII ed; I ed.1964), p. 347.

EMANUELE RONCALLI, AMMINISTRAZIONE COMUNALE DI SOTTO IL MONTE - GIOVANNI XXII (a.c.), Giovanni XIII, un pontefice e la sua terra, Bergamo, Grafica & Arte, 1988, p. p. 9- 25.

S. N., BIBLIOTECA CIVICA ANGELO MAI E ARCHIVI STORICI, Scrivere la musica. A cent'anni dalla donazione del fondo Piatti - Lochis 1916- 2016, 05/11/2016 (consulted into: https://www.bibliotecamai.org/scrivere-la-musica/ ).

Jacinto Regalado,

Ah, as I expected, only Italian input was likely to solve this mystery, especially since the sculptor died relatively young, left few works, and is unlikely to be known outside Italy or even outside the Bergamo area. His dates are then 1870-1910, and dating the bust c. 1890s is quite reasonable (unless it was posthumous from a picture). Excellent work by Victor Veronesi.

Jacinto Regalado,

An argument could also be made for dating the bust as c. 1900, the midpoint between 1890 and 1910.

Jacinto Regalado,

For what it may be worth, what initially attracted my attention to this bust is that it was listed under "G. Manzoni," and I could not resist pursuing the G. I noticed that the plaque on the plinth said Giacomo Manzoni, so then I had to pursue his dates, but all I could find was information about the far better known Manzù. I am delighted that one thing led to another and that now we have our answer.

Kieran Owens,

The May 1910 edition of 'Ars et Labor', for an entry dated the 21st April, also carried the following notice:

"A Bergamo, nel teatro Donizetti, viene inaugurato un busto in marmo del violoncellista bergamasco Alfredo Piatti, opera nello scultore Giacomo Manzoni."

or (roughly translated):

"In Bergamo, in the Donizetti theater, a marble bust is unveiled of the Bergamo cellist Alfredo Piatti, the work of the sculptor Giacomo Manzoni."

This suggests that the bust might have been a posthumous creation, and was executed shortly before the artist's death, which was recorded, as transcribed by Victor above, in the September 1910 edition of the journal. A creation date of 1910 could, therefore, be considered as a likely assumption.

Kieran Owens,

In fact, it is more likely that it was 1909, given the 31 January 1910 date of the letter from Rosa Costanza Piatti-Lochis.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Some texts devoted to Manzù probably reserve some major references on the surname and eventually will help us to verify if there were some family relationships between the two sculptors . That area has for exemple a great concentration of Roncalli and the most were coming from that district and were familiar to the so called "good pope" (*). Due to the lockdown, it's not easy to have more references, but I should verify if I 'd reserve the reading of a text that may give us the desired information. I'm writing ,right now, to a supposed to be heir of the Lochis in Italy and to the Theatre Donizetti to have, if possible more precise information related on the execution of the italian bust, before making any hypothesis. Another information could be taken by the historic archives of the Academy Carrara (not the museum). I'd share all the information in the next days, when acquired.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Other representations of Alfredo Piatti, could be seen there, into the catalogue of italian cultural goods.
1) Probably the commemorative bust of Bergamo , quite different from the one handled by the Royal Academy of Music: http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:www.internetculturale.it/metaoaicat:oai:www.internetculturale.sbn.it/Teca:20:NT0000:MI0285_AS_1844-02 .
This things unveils , that probably the two busts probably have some different sources , development and creation , concerning also that the sculptor was dead in 1910. The bust of Bergamo seems to be derived by a medal made by Gaetano Calvi to celebrate an event related to the violoncellist Piatti, occurred between the 16 and the 18 September 1897 and now kept into the Scala's theater museum (http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:oaicat.iccd.org:@ICCD3286201@)
2) A photograph of Piatti published by the editor Ricordi: http:http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:www.internetculturale.it/metaoaicat:oai:www.internetculturale.sbn.it/Teca:20:NT0000:MI0285_AS_1844-01 . The sitter into the photography shows some differences from the one reported into the sculpture. It's important to have maybe some more information on the Cavesazzi 's book. I'll accomplish in the next hours.
The version belonging to the Royal Academy of Music seems to me belonging to a more intimate , lively and private commission. So for dating exactly the piece , I think it will be compulsory to have more information related to the commission.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

By now , I only can report other curious information on the sitter, that has owned a Stradivari violoncello made across 1720, latter known as "Piatti" , by his surname (a photograph of the instrument seems to be kept by the house museum Braga :http://www.assoculturalebraga.it/museo/le-stanze/ ) .

Jacinto Regalado,

There is a bust of Piatti at the Sala Piatti in Bergamo (which is an independent concert hall, not the Teatro Donizetti). I do not know if it is by our sculptor or not, but here is a picture of it:

http://www.operatoday.com/Adrian Bradbury next to bust of Alfredo Piatti, Sala Piatti, Bergamo (1).jpg

Kieran Owens,

Marion, for the sake of accuracy, you might also correct the following:

"The sculptor of the bust was certain Giacomo Manzoni of Calusco (Calusco D'adda, Bergamo), b. 1870 - d. 1810"

to

"The sculptor of the bust was certain Giacomo Manzoni of Calusco (Calusco D'adda, Bergamo), b. 1870 - d. 1910"

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

@ Dr. Marion Richards:the correct post is the last one you have referred to , with also the amendment given by Dr. Kieran Owens: I've made also in the second long note a mistake in typing the death year as 1810, instead of 1910 . Pardon me , for this. I have replied now, not only to left an answer to the previous message , but moreover to share a positive reply that I have had yesterday: professor Plebani of the University of Pavia, for the Carrara Art Gallery (he works also in that institution as a curator) and Museum in Bergamo (he is also the responsible for the historical archives of the Museum and of the Art Academy, despite my former thoughts *) , has ensured his support and collaboration to this search. Probably , starting from next week, he will track all the academic career of the sculptor and we may have some information on his professors and the classes he had attended. This is a precious and important aid to this catalogue , given by a city and a Museum that has suffered (as many other historical institutions in UK and in the world ) in the latter times. I'll try to write to the Crocetta di Mozzo city hall, to have a more direct contact with other members of Lochis family, concerning that the villa in which was death the violoncellist still be probably owned by the heirs, as it can be assumed by some papers published by the local administration .
* In Brera Art Academy the historical archives (the registers of classes, courses, exams, the professional papers and sheets of the professors , the results of the challenges and competitions and much more) are handled by the Academy itself and not by the library of Brera and the art Gallery.

Victor, thank you very much indeed for all your work on this question to date, and how wonderful that there is even more to come from Bergamo! Please pass on our huge thanks to Professor Plebani for his very generous collaboration with us through investigating the Museum and Academy archives.

Also many thanks to you and Kieran for the correction to the death date, which has now been made in Victor's post of 21:23.

While the bust unveiled in the Teatro Donizetti in April 1910 is clearly stated to have been by Manzoni, the only thing so far clear is that if it is/ was either of the two to which illustrative links have now been supplied by Victor and Jacinto, both show him as a younger man than the RAM 'old age' example, so not a 'version' of that.

Assuming the theatre one might be that shown on a wall bracket in the B&W online illustration from a book (in item 1 of Victor's note of 29/07/2020 09:48) then it would also help to be clear whether the one of which Jacinto has produced a shot in the Sala Piatti is another Manzoni 'young' version or by someone else.

So far there is also no obvious link for either of them as having anything to do with Piatti's daughter, the Contessa Piatti-Lochis, as donor, patron etc. Her link may solely be with the RAM one.

It would also help (please Victor) to have clearer identification of the parish to which Fr. Carlo Marinelli in 1919 gave Manzoni's 'carved on wood and painted processional "Madonna Assunta"' (your note of 28/7/2020). Do you mean Bergamo? Marinelli is not on the list of parish priests at San Fedele, Calusco, where the religious statuary by Manzoni is all noted as on side altars in the church, with no mention of a heavy processional Madonna.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Updates and reply to Mr Pieter Van der Merwe, that correctly have asked me to have more clear and defined information as are required to a complete catalogue sheet.

2) The Parrish of which Pope Giovanni (John ) XXXIII gives a memory is the new Parrish of Sotto il Monte - Giovanni XXXIII . " The Virgin of the Assumption brings me back , with tenderness, to Sotto il Monte, where I loved too much to venerate her in two statues: the one dressed and too devoted of the Sanzi, kept in Brusicco, the church in which I was baptized ; as the other, though beautiful and vigorous, belonging to the new church of the sculptor Manzoni (2) . This one was a gift of the dear priest Carlo Marinelli (3), one of the clergyman to me more familiar and mostly praiseworthy for my ecclesiastic formation, and dearer to my graceful memory [.....] (2) Manzoni Giacomo of Calusco D'Adda , 1870 - 1910, sculptor (3) Priest to Sotto il Monte 1919 - 1924 " (GIOVANNI XXIII, Il giornale dell'anima e altri scritti di pietà, Edizioni di Storia e di Letteratura , Roma ,1975 (VIII ed; I ed.1964), p. 347) . I have derived from the information given by the text that the donation of the Statue of the "Assunta " could be occurred across 1919, when was nominated priest of Sotto il Monte, but this thing could be happened also before , or later (I have written to ask fore more precise information, or for a confirmation to the Parrish a little bit before by writing down those words) . Probably the heavy statue could be seen in this gallery , belonging to the Sotto il Monte Parrish : http://www.parrocchiasottoilmonte.eu/ .

CORRECTIONS

Carlo Alfredo Piatti has been buried into the family - Lochis - oratory of the Purity of the Virgin and Saint William , benedictine abbot ( Purezza della Vergine e San Gugliemo abate benedettino) , a private chapel put over the Hill Lochis (Marinoni) in Mozzo, Bergamo and consecrated the 23 September 1858 , as reported there: https://mozzonews.com/2013/05/08/mozzo-oratorio-di-colle-lochis-parrocchia-san-giovanni-battista-in-mozzo-bg-oratorio-di-colle-lochis/ .

UPDATES

1)
On Monday I will probably (we are in covid times and nothing is ensured ) consult two books in Brera on (Carlo ) Alfredo Piatti (, among those the pamphlet published for the ceremony of the donation of the bust that still be now , after more than a century kept inside the Donizetti Theatre of Bergamo . The Theatre, as I was informed by dr. Clelia Epis, is under restoration now and has the bust into a storage. They don't unfortunately possess a copy of the little essay of Ciro Caversazzi, but they have addressed me to the Angelo Mai library and to Dr. Luca Guaschetti. The library owns the musical found donated more than a century ago by Countess Rosa (Costanza) Piatti Lochis . Between those papers , I was informed that there's a collection of press articles concerning the donation of the bust. I have written yesterday, late, so that we shall wait for more material, if in possession of the special library. I'll share it when available.

Many thanks for the attention paid and for the questions advanced before.

Paul Nicholls,

I have only one record of a sculptor by the name of Giacomo Manzoni, who showed two works at the National Exhibition held in Milan in 1906: Dolce materno, statue in plaster; Ebbra d'amore, group in plaster. I expect there is more information in the exhibition catalogue itself, as also in Alfonso Panzetta's dictionary of 19th C Italian artists, both of which I'll have a look at when I have access to my library in a few days' time. I will send on my findings.

Curiously, to add to the confusion, there was also a painter of the same name, who exhibited in Italy from 1864 to 1906. I don't think they were related!

Jacinto Regalado,

The painter of that name, whose dates are 1840-1912, was from Padua.

Paul Nicholls 02,

Unfortunately, neither the 1906 catalogue or Panzetta provide information we do not already have.

Jacinto Regalado,

Paul, thank you for checking, but I think we will have to wait for whatever can be found through the diligent efforts of Victor Veronesi from sources in Bergamo. It seems fairly clear that this sculptor is little known beyond Lombardy, and possibly that was always the case. It may be difficult now even for Italians to find out much about him without resorting to local (Bergamo area) sources.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Updates:

1) CIRO CAVERSAZZI: Discorso per l'inau-/gurazione del busto di Alfredo Piatti Piatti nell'atrio del Teatro Doni-/zetti in Bergamo 21 aprile 1910 /, Istituto italiano d'arti grafiche , Bergamo, s.d., p. p. 15 (photograph attached at n. 4) .

I have consulted this morning the small volume kept by Brera Library - Braidense (there inventoried as Misc O 238 *) into a miscellaneous collection first belonging to Professor Francesco Novati (as reported by the golden letters "Liberia Novati" printed over the blue cartooned book cover) " to which was addressed directly by the author [with a letter that says : "to the illustrious prof. (essor) Francesco Novati / as sign of gift/, the author"; photograph attached at n. 5]. By reading the text I haven't found any important information on Manzoni and on both the two busts. It was only possible to me to find into the first page a small reference to the the version kept into the Theatre Donizetti: " The marble bust of Alfredo Piatti had been erected / thanks to a public subscription and for the care of the Circolo Artistico di Bergamo (tr. = The Artistic circle of Bergamo ) into the lobby of the Donizzetti's theatre , next to the bust of G. B. Rubini tenor and shows the following inscription/ : To Alfredo Piatti / Bergamo and London / sisters in the remembrance "Not a reference to Giacomo Manzoni , or a list of the subscriptors , as normally is kept by similar texts. Are only reported the reason for letting there the bust, close to a very famous bergamasco singer , some causes that had something to deal with Piatti's origins, with his big foreign success and , later, with the 1897 Donizzetti's celebrations : "in 1897 (= Piatti) concerted with Joachim, with (Mrs) Davies and (Mrs) Melba, celebrating the Donizetti's centenary , here mostly than in another place the imagine of Alfredo Piatti could exercitate with vivid sense its commemorative efficace. And the argument seems to run; but let it also say , between the pedestrian and the rhetorical".
As I have referred , the text of Caversazzi - that was himself a member of the cultural center born in 1895 that have promoted the erection of the Piatti's sculpture settled into Donizetti's Theatre lobby - seems not useful to unveil something more on the two marble busts. The only thing on which we could reflect , is on the title given to the sculpture that seems to allude not only to the fact that the music player has spent most of his life divided between Bergamo and London , but also that the public subscription have had an extensive and international adhesion , constituted for an half by Bergamo 's citizens, half by English ones, but this is only an hypothesis. I have written to the artistic circle of Bergamo to have some information on the subscription, hoping that the association - as the "la famiglia artistica milanese " - have kept an internal historical archive with papers linked to the special celebrative commission. Maybe from there it will get out something. I have written two lines to the association this morning, when I was in Brera library.

2) S. N. , The monthly Musical record, 1 march, Vol. XL, London Augner Ltd. , 1910, p. 66 (the text seems the same of the S. N., Miscellaneous Notes in: The Musical news a weekly journal of music, NY , Vol. 38, 26/02, 1910, p. , but I cannot be sure of the title and extension of the text, for having only a partial view of the texts kept by some american libraries and shared through google books ).
"Bust of the late Signor Alfredo Piatti. The bust is the work of the young artist Signor Giacomo Manzoni di Bergamo , and is a striking excellent portrait of the great violoncellist , who was for many years not only the finest great performer on his instrument, but also one of the most eminent professors in the Academy . The school owes this notable addition to its treasures to the generosity of the Maestro's daughter the Countess Piatti Lochis ".

3) W. H. , Academy letter in: R. A. M. Magazine, n. 30, June, London, s.e., 1910, p. p. 16 - 17 [the photographs attached here under and named 1, 2, 3 are all coming from a scanned copy that can be fully readable into archive.org. website at this page :https://archive.org/details/r.a.m.clubmagazineno.30june1910/page/n7/mode/2up?q=alfredo+piatti ] .

"Our institute has recently been the recipient of a most interesting gift in form of a marble bust of late Signor Alfredo Piatti. The bust is a work of Signor Giacomo Manzoni , of Bergamo and is an excellent portrait of the great violoncellist who was for many year a professor in the Academy . The school owes this notable addition to its treasure to the generosity of the maestro's daughter Countess Piatti Lochis ".

ADDITION

1) On Dr. Kieran Owens note of the 27/07/2020 , 00.31

S. N. , Concerti (tr.= concerts) , In platea (tr.= in the stalls ) in: GIULIO RICORDI (editor), Ars et labor , rivista mensile illustrata (tr= monthly illustrated review) ,Vol. 546, 5 May, Milan, Ricordi, 1910, p. p. 403; 410.

p. 404
"Concerts [...]
In Bergamo, the 21 st April, in Donizetti's Theatre there were the ceremonies to Alfredo Piatti . In the afternoon for the initiative of the Artistic circle , in the Theatre lobby , was inaugurated a bust to the great violoncellist fellow citizen, bust executed, as it is notorious, for a city subscription."
p. 410
" Into the stalls [...]
In Bergamo, in the Donizetti theater, a marble bust is unveiled of the Bergamo cellist Alfredo Piatti, the work of the sculptor Giacomo Manzoni"

(as reported kindly and correctly by Dr Ownes in its translation)

2) On Paul Nicholl's note of the 02/08/2020, 17:57

I think it could be the same sculptor that have made the two busts . The participation to the 1906 and exhibition have probably been for him a successful step in his career.

S. N., Catalogo Esposizione Belle Arti 1906, Capriolo e Massimino, Milano, 1906, p. p. 161, 164 (consulted into digitami library, the digital historical library of the city hall libraries of Milan : >http://www.digitami.it/opera.do?operaId=271&visual=img&paginaN=263 )

"Scultura (tr= Sculpture )
[...]
Manzoni (Giacomo )
Ebbra d'amore (Gruppo in gesso )
tr = "drunk of love", group of plaster
n. 162
[...]
Manzoni (Giacomo)
Dolore materno (statua in gesso)
n. 203
tr= mother's ache , plaster statue
"
Starting from these titles and from the style of the English bust, I think that Manzoni s can be brought back into the current of the Italian "simbolisti" sculptors, or rather of the "scapigliati".

3) On the Piatti's Violoncello

S. N., Le piccole note, Il Violoncello di Alfredo Piatti in: Cronache musicali, rivista illustrata, n. 24, Roma, E Voghera, 1904, p. 196.

Piatti has received his famous Stradivari's violoncello in his later years in England by a music lover and local general that that have bought the instrument in Spain, when coming back from India. When taking some lessons of violoncello, the nobleman have had more advantage in hearing the instrument played by Piatti, than by trying to playing it , so that he decided to transform the precious instrument into a gift to the musician. In 1897 , during the Donizetti's celebration a banker of Berlin Mendelsshon (1) , nephew of the famous have tried to bought it, but was only at the dead of the violoncellist that the heir agreed to the offert previously made of 100.000 francs.

(1) The name of Robert Mendelssohn in given by the Piatti's necrology published into the August number of "The Musical times " (1901, p. p. 535 - 536). By reading the Carme' Perez Torrecilla ("Firenze e Giulietta Gordigiani von Mendelssohn nella vita di Gaspar Cassadó") article published on 7 December 2016 into the wordpress website "Gaspar Cassado" (https://gasparcassado50.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/firenze-e-giulietta-gordigiani-von-mendelssohn-nella-vita-di-gaspar-cassado/) we could track all the subsequent passages of the instrument that first of all become a property of Mendelssohn's wife, Giulietta Gordigiani at the death of the husband occurred in 1917 till hers (1957). The instrument passed from her hands to the ones of the son Francesco that have left it, as stated into his last wills, at the Malboro foundation , in 1977, to be used by its students. In 1978 the violoncello was put on sale by the foundation and in 1979 become a property of the Mexican player Carlos Prieto Jaqué (Ciudad del Mexico, 1 st January 1937). The instrument is nicknamed by that moment the "Chelo Prieto".

* The second volume that I have read today in Brera (Commemorazione di Alfredo Piatti, 8 gennaio 1902, Parole Commemorative del Dottor Cristoforo Scotti , Bergamo nella sala dei Concerti dell'Istituto Musicale G. Donizetti , Bergamo, Istituto italiano d'arti grafiche , 1902, s. p.; photographs attached here down at n. 6 and 7) comes also from the Miscellanea Novati and has an inventory number P 130. It refers that in the occasion of the celebration it "will be exposed into the room a portrait of Alfredo Piatti executed for the institute by the painter Mr. Giacomo Bosis" (of which there 's a photographic reproduction in B/W). The book doesn't keep any reference to statues and other representations of the musician .

3 attachments
Jacinto Regalado,

As an aside, there is an 1871 portrait of Piatti by Frank Holl in the Sala Piatti in Bergamo. An image of it is in the same link I posted above which contains the image of one of the three known Piatti busts.

Given that the original inscription of Manzoni's Piatti bust in the Teatro Donizetti at Bergamo is very short (Ad Alfredo Piatti/ Bergamo e Londra/ Sorelle nel ricordo) the bust in this image
- produced by Victor on 29/7/2020 @9.48 - appears to be yet another (i.e. fourth) one. The inscription on its bracket is certainly different and longer,

http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:www.internetculturale.it/metaoaicat:oai:www.internetculturale.sbn.it/Teca:20:NT0000:MI0285_AS_1844-02

So there seem to be two 'young' Piatti busts - that above and the one in the Sala Piatti, of which the authorships are so far uncertain- plus one certainly 'old age' one by Manzoni (that under discussion) and another by Manzoni in the Teatro Donizetti of so far unknown sitter age. It may be a version of the 'old' RAM one but possibly not.

Jacinto Regalado,

In the death notice for Manzoni in the July 15, 1910 issue of Ars & Labor linked above by Victor (in his first comment), the Teatro Donizetti bust and the London bust (ours) are said to be "somigliantissimi," meaning very similar.

Thank you Jacinto, I missed that; so the theatre one looks like an 'old age' version, but the 'Ars et Labor' death notice of Manzoni appeared in the September issue 1910 (no. 9, p. 742). I can't immediately see anything referring to 'July 15, 1910' -so what is that? Manzoni's actual death date perhaps, lurking somewhere in the undergrowth here?

I have been back through the issue in which p. 742 occurs which says no 9, September, and forward to the next which is no 10, October, so we do not seem to be on the same pages: this is the link I am looking at -the first footnote to Victor's first entry in this stream:

S. N., In memoria in: GIULIO RICORDI (direttore ), [Ars et Labor] rivista mensile illustrata , Musica e Musicisti, Vol. 9, Ricordi, Milano,1910, 65 (a) , p. 742 (consulted in: http://digitale.bnc.roma.sbn.it/tecadigitale/giornale/TO00177086/1910/v.2/00000334 ) .

If an Ancestry subscriber has got Manzoni's exact b. and d. dates, that would also help of course

Jacinto Regalado,

I was looking at the cover for the wrong issue. The page in question belongs to the issue dated August 15, 1910.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

As correctly reported into the comment of 29/07 (15.41) left here over by Dr Jacinto Regalado (that I have wrongly reported yesterday night by clicking , for mistake, over a hided button : " There is a bust of Piatti at the Sala Piatti in Bergamo (which is an independent concert hall, not the Teatro Donizetti). I don't know if it is by our sculptor or not, but here is a picture of it: http://www.operatoday.com/content/2020/06/alfredo_piatti_.php"), the bust that he has reported is also for me identical to the one kept into the RAM collections .But it seems - through the only photograph avaible - to be made in terracotta , or in plaster, more than in marble. I have written both to Angelo Mai library (another time, but to other email address ) and to the Foundation (Fondazione Mia ) that owns that room titled to Piatti into the so called " domus Magna " (n. 6 Via San Salvatore Bergamo al n. 6 civico di Via S. Salvatore) , an historical building that was "the former venue of the institution, devoted to the school of the Musical institute "G. Donizetti" and also seat of the museum Donizetti and of the Musical Chapel of S. Maria Maggiore Basilica " (https://www.fondazionemia.it/it/domusmagna/sala-piatti ). I should underline that the Musical Institute Donizetti was the same school that had been gifted , as recommended into the last wills of Costanza Rosa Piatti widow Lochis , of the Adolfo Piatti's musical library only between 1915 and 1916.

Regarding to the last comment of Dr. Regalado , I'd stress that the term "somigliantissimi "(very similar, strikingly similar etc... ) it's a form to underline probably most the similarity with the subject and not between the two statues.
If the author of the obituary have intended the bust belonging to the school Donizetti he has probably written of the (teatro del Donizzetti) "Theatre of the Donizetti (institute) " and not "Theatre Donizetti" (Teatro Donizzetti).
It's also hard that the same mistake had been made also by Caversazzi , the author of the small book devoted to the bust erected into the lobby of the Theatre Donizetti in 1910 for a subscription promoted by the Artistic Circle of Bergamo , an association of which he was one of the supporters . Mistakes, obviously can occur, for sure.
By hence, it's possible that Giacomo Manzoni have developed before 1910 , before his death , two different representations and types of busts for two different customers and situations.
I have had a first reply, right now ,by the Secretary of the Mia foundation. I hope their archives can aid us to understand where and how the bust that is kept into the Piatti Music Room (of the Donizetti institute ) had entered in their collections.

@Pieter Van der Merwe :
1) Caversazzi should have chosen to report only a part of the letters of the the base of the bust. Into the whole text is stressed the connection with the 1897 celebrations, a thing that could justify the derivation from the 1897 Calvi's medal. The subject seems to wear , on his nose , a pair of glasses that is not present into the RAM bust. It's quite important also to remember that the photograph I have posted before (http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:www.internetculturale.it/metaoaicat:oai:www.internetculturale.sbn.it/Teca:20:NT0000:MI0285_AS_1844-02) belongs to the well studied and known historic archive of the Ricordi publishing house that keeps also some papers and letters of the musician (https://www.digitalarchivioricordi.com/it/people/display/1899/Alfredo Piatti?page=2) . This bust was also described into the correspondence had with a responsible of the Donizetti Theatre. No one have said to me, or reported to me , that were two busts in the lobby , but only one.

2) In Italy not all the archives and papers were scanned and available through Ancestry service (I have used it sometimes ) as it happens often with the UK and US ones . I have written both to the Parrish of Calusco and to the city hall (that have the registers both of birth and dead) in the w.e. We still wait for some new s from there and have "faith" on the priests of the local Parrish.

ADDITIONS:

I have reserved in Brera -for the 6 August - the reading of LUIGI PAGNONI, Chiese parrocchiali bergamasche, Monumenta Bergomensia, 1979, p . p. 439 ) that reports with care where are settled some artworks left by Giacomo Manzoni across the Parrish churches of the Bergamo's dioceses. It's quite impossible to do this through the national catalogue of the ecclesiastic cultural goods that don't consent to trace the collocation of the artistic objects ( https://www.beweb.chiesacattolica.it/UI/page.jsp?da=1&action=CERCA&frase=Giacomo Manzoni®ione_ecc=LOMBARDIA&diocesi=BERGAMO&ordine=rilevanza&locale=it).

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

@Jacinto Regalado
Ars and labor issue is the one of September (published as any number the 15 of the current month as is signed into each cover as the one drawn by Dudovich : https://fondazionecirulli.org/artwork/ars-et-labor-musica-e-musicisti-rivista-illustrata-mensile/), not of August.
For sure the information reported there has something to deal with the previous months , linked directly to the editorial time spent to publish the volume and to collect the information given. The section of "August" is a sort of calendar reporting some historical facts happened in past and during the last August, all enumerated day by day. Get a look to the summary and to the pages reported there (her under ), if you have some doubts on it and see at what page is kept "In memoria" section : "p. 742". It's impossible to have a repetition of the number of the pages and so to make a mistake between the contents of monthly issue and the one kept into another. This will occur with "Ars and labor" magazine if only you'd made a mistake in completing the bibliographic reference . A thing that, instead, should easily happen with other reviews. Coming back on Giacomo Manzoni, we only know that he was dead before the edition of the September issue. He could also have died in May, or in February, or the first days of September . Who knows ?

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Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

@Kieran Ownes: Many thanks for resuming the situation. It was reported of the existence of a bust of A. Piatti , kept into an homonym room of the Musical institute Donizetti by Mr. Regalado , into a post dating to the 29/07/2020 ( 15:51) . The other one represented into "cultura italia "website it's probably the one that is normally kept by Donizetti's Theatre lobby and that was first mentioned by me into a post of 29/07/2020 ( 09:48).

Kieran Owens,

Victor,

I am aware of the references and am only posting the composite by way of comparison. Are you suggesting that there are two separate busts of Patti by Manzoni in the Bergamo?

Kieran

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

@Kieran I have intended your positive aim. There were -or there are probably - two busts of Manzoni that represent Carlo Alfredo Piatti in Bergamo done by Giacomo Manzoni. This is the thing that it's possible to derive by the documents till now posted. One of those was the one put into the lobby of the Theatre Donizetti in Bergamo the 24 april 1910 and commissioned before by the Circolo Artistico di Bergamo association. The other is the one that is kept by the MIA foundation (that owns the Donizetti museum and the Sala Piatti), more similar to the RAM one , but with a less famous and known story.

Thanks Kieran: so (1) it looks like the bust shown in the 'Sala Piatti' photo is the Museo Donizettiano's -(is the 'Sala Piatti' a room in the Museo? I'm not clear on that; if it is NOT then the bust's presence in the Sala when photographed there was presumably on loan): and (2) The Museo Donizettiano's is -like the London version - an 'old-age' one: and (3) it looks like a plaster, so may be a maquette for the London bust and/or the one in the Teatro Donizetti as well- of which we clearly need to see an image since that is the only other one we so far know was certainly by Manzoni.

Who the (now one) younger Piatti bust shown in the old photo on a wall bracket is by, or where, is a current puzzle but if not by Manzoni it is not relevant here. Very odd to see such a photo on a heritage record site but with no useful information at all other than name of sitter (ie. no location, no artist -if known).

Kieran Owens,

A detailed life of the composer can be found here:

http://www.alfredopiatti.com/home/index.php?page=biography

As mentioned therein, he died at Crocette di Mozzo, a few miles from Bergamo. According to his biography, "Il Musicista Carlo Alfredo Patti", by Annalisa Lodetti Barzanò (Circolo Lirico Mayr-Donizetti, 1996), there is also a bust over his tomb in this village, which was unveiled on the 28th March 1903. The author also references the 28th May 1910 unveiling of the bust by Giacomo Manzoni.

Kieran Owens,

Mea maxima culpa. It refers to an error in my typing, which should have read 21st April 1910. It was a long and tiring day....

https://bit.ly/31eNS3Q

Jacinto Regalado,

The presumably plaster bust, which looks rougher and less finished than ours, could certainly be a preparatory version by Manzoni of the RAM bust. It may or may not be signed, so its authorship would have to be clarified by the entity which owns it. I agree with Pieter that the known Manzoni bust owned by the Teatro Donizetti remains somewhat uncertain as to appearance, and it would be ideal if someone on the staff of the theatre could take a quick photo of it with a mobile phone, but that may be too much to ask for now.

Thanks Kieran (bene capito!) - and I easily see from your link that the Sala Piatti was so dedicated in the Istituto Musicale at Bergamo in 1905, so the Donizetti museum bust was presumably on loan there when the photo we have seen was taken.

I wonder if the 'bust over his tomb' at Crocette di Mozzo that you note as mentioned in Barzanò's 1996 biography pf Piatti is the one so far puzzling us on the inscribed stone wall bracket/corbel here (again):

http://www.culturaitalia.it/viewItem.jsp?language=en&case;=&id=oai:www.internetculturale.it/metaoaicat:oai:www.internetculturale.sbn.it/Teca:20:NT0000:MI0285_AS_1844-02

We know he was buried in the Lochis mausoleum, so its certainly a possibility if -for example - the burials are in a vault below and the memorials related in the chapel element above. And whoever made it, there would have been sense in showing him (as it seems to) more in his prime than his old age.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

@Jacinto Regalado (on the post of Today, 00.32) : the bust held by Donizetti Theatre is kept into a store (this was said me by the responsible of the Archive, Dr Clelia Epis) till November . I have made that question before .

@Kieran Ownes (on the last post of yesterday, 20.36 ) : Very interesting the existence of other bust. Maybe is the one I have supposed that was the one of the Donizetti (so that I was wrong) ?
Maybe is another version of the two actually known busts (the RAM one and the one held buy the Fondazione Mia ) ?

Well, it will be compulsory to me, to take the phone between this week and the next to ask , if possible, to have an answer to the requests made in short times.

We are waiting now for some answers from :

Calusco Parrish and city Hall (on Giacomo Manzoni's death and birth)

The owners of the Sala Piatti (and of the Museo Donizzettiano) settled into the same structure (Fondazione Mia di Bergamo, Domus )

Biblioteca Angelo Mai (on the bust of Mia and on the donation of the one of the Donizetti's theatre)

Carrara of Bergamo (on the studies, birthplace, date of birth etc. of Giacomo Manzoni)

City hall of Mozzo (on Lochis family and their private chapel)

I will write to Mozzo Parrish also to have another aid, eventually on the private chapel and to have a contact with the Lochis family, or Lochis heirs.


Thanks Victor: that clarifies (especially that the Sala Piatti and Museo Donozettiano are now part of the same organisation) and a quick mobile phone photo of the theatre bust when accessible should wrap that side of things up. Are we already sure the theatre's bust is also marble (it may be above but I have not spotted it) ?

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

After this long term silence I have some information to share with you , with a great joy . Some of the papers I 'm sharing here , will give us some answers, or more questions, as , for exemple, on the bust of the MIA . This plaster can be - it's an hypothesis - identified with the model presented at the Circolo artistico bergamasco that commissioned with a subscription -then became international - the bust of the Donizzetti (of which, till now, we haven't a representation), but how it got there? (I don't know if now the MIA foundation will open the registers, concerning that has received two emails with a similar request ) . I will confirm that probably the information given by Dr. Jacinto Regalado into a post was probably correct (the 27/07 h. 00.50) , but I will be obliged to do a cross view between the information that I have caught from one catalogue that I've read today and the updated catalogue on line of religious italian cultural goods . I hoped to manage this today, but I 'm so tired and i 'll left this for tomorrow . This work is compulsory, because I've found a great mistake done by some curators of a publication I have consulted and previously reported . Thanks a lot to Professor Plebani of the Carrara and Luca Guaschetti of the Civic Library Angelo Mai for recovering some information on the studies at Carrara academy of Giacomo Manzoni and on the press published close to the inauguration of the Bust of the Donizzetti Theatre. You can find here those material translated (with the links to the original documents ) . The scanned copy of the Eco di Bergamo is not so easily readable - it's damaged in more points - in Italian , so that I have preferred only to share a full translation of it.

PS. It will be possible to me also to get more information by planning , for this week end , an 'excursion ' to Mozzo to do an inspection, if possible , to verify the existence of the bust of 1903 (and to get a look to it and its form ) if necessary.

Jacinto Regalado,

Thank you, Victor, for so much hard work, which may eventually lead to a kind of historical or artistic "resurrection" of Giacomo Manzoni. We now know his exact dates of birth (26/04/1870) and death (31/07/1910), that his father was a carver (his decorative work in plaster and wood is in the Church of San Fedele in Calusco) and probably his first teacher, followed by training under Giuseppe Zenoni at a design school in Bergamo and subsequently at the Accademia Carrara, 1896-99, also in Bergamo. His work included portrait busts, religious images (again at San Fedele in Calusco) and apparently genre pieces such as those exhibited in Milan in 1906 ("Ebbra d'amore" and "Dolore materno").

The marble bust at the Teatro Donizetti (TD) was placed on a corbel, which would seem to correspond to the photo previously linked above, but we do not yet have definitive visual confirmation regarding the TD bust (and even if that photo is of the TD bust, a better photo is needed for comparison with our bust, as the bust in that photo seems to be of a younger Piatti).

The plaster or terracotta bust belonging to the MIA (which includes the Sala Piatti where I initially found it) is evidently a preparatory version or maquette for one or both of the marble busts of Piatti by Manzoni; it certainly resembles the RAM bust (which was apparently made before the TD bust).

We now await further developments from Italy.

Jacinto Regalado,

Our bust can be dated to c. 1909, since the idea for it dates to December 1908 (in Milan) and the letter from Piatti's daughter thanking the RAM for accepting it is from January 1910. The information provided by Victor in his latest comment implies there was a local competition for the commission (at least of the Teatro Donizetti bust), and that a jury selected Manzoni's submission (presumably the maquette now at the MIA/Sala Piatti) as the winner.

Jacinto Regalado,

The RAM bust was in London by January or, at the latest, February of 1910, before the unveiling of the Teatro Donizetti bust in April of that year. Our bust may have reached London in (late) 1909, as suggested by information in the Art UK entry, and perhaps the RAM can provide the exact date of physical acquisition, which would be of interest.

Jacinto Regalado,

Do note that Arrigo Boito, the librettist for Verdi's Otello and Falstaff and Ponchielli's Gioconda, as well as the composer of Mefistofele, was present at the unveiling of the Piatti bust at the Teatro Donizetti.

Jacinto- could you point out the reference to Giuseppe Zenoni and the 'design school', which is eluding me as I try and extract the basic 'potted bio' facts here,

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, it is at the very end of the document provided in Victor's latest comment, in a footnote (number 9).

Thanks: an abstracted draft of 1 or less than 2 sides of A4 will appear when final issues resolve, unless a vast list of 'further works' to add does, which seems unlikely.

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, in your biographic summary, you should give the English translations for the titles of the works shown in Milan in 1906:

Ebbra d'amore (Inebriated with Love)

Dolore materno (Maternal Grief)

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

I'll give some news . We will probably have more information on the bust of the MIA (Sala Piatti), but we should wait more than 15 days because they're closing for summer holidays (they will revise their registers to look at the entrance date of the bust inside their collections ) . Instead, by Donizetti Theatre something will be eventually be transferred in November as they will be able to get into the storages. On Tuesday I'll read a little book that probably will confirm the identification of the bronze bust of Piatti formerly possessed by the Milan conservatory , with the one of the photograph published by Cultura Italia website.

Jacinto Regalado,

Thank you, Victor. Even if we have to wait a few more months, it will be worthwhile, and obviously everything moves more slowly now.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

You're welcome Jacinto. I apologize of not having contected some institutes before, but the big trouble is also connected to the personal working into the archives that is reduced and can menage certain work of research in the double time . . Here to read a book is a challenge : it's compulsory to book the publication you'll read three , or two days before through a platform and than through another website you must reserve in advance your reading place into the library. The two things should match, obviously. Before the covid all it was so immediate . Well, thanks to the net and the digitalisation it's possible to reduce, or overcome part of the troubles .

Jacinto Regalado,

I have not finished going over the extensive additions in your updated document, Victor, but it is most interesting. Evidently, Manzoni did a great deal of work for churches, which may have been his principal patrons, and this included sculptures in wood as well as decorative carvings.

Also, the Piatti bust on a corbel which you had previously linked and believed to be the bust by Manzoni at the Teatro Donizetti (TD) is in fact a bronze bust in Milan by another sculptor, which explains why it looks different from both the maquette in the Sala Piatti and the RAM bust. I now fully expect that the TD bust will look very much like our bust and that it will also resemble the preparatory maquette in the Sala Piatti.

Despite all the difficulties you have encountered, this is excellent progress. I cannot imagine that we would have been able to obtain so much detailed information without your investigation.

Jacinto Regalado,

Even though the heavy lifting, so to speak, is being done by Victor in Italy, I am both amused and delighted that so much information is being uncovered about a relatively obscure artist with a short career, since the process was initially set in motion by a single letter: his first initial, G, which attracted my magpie-like curiosity to find out exactly who "G. Manzoni" was. There are many such shiny objects in the Art UK database, so there is plenty of work left to be done.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Well , the job - till now- was the result of the collaboration of a wide group (of Mr Owens, Mr van der Merwe, You ) and of the people that have collaborated in searching some information as Dr Clelia Epis (Theatre Donizzetti), Professor Plebani (Carrara art Academy) and Dr. Luca Guaschetti first (Library Angelo Mai*). I was only the 'glue' between Uk , the RAM, Art Uk and Italy. The astonishing thing is this public access (and view) forum , Art detective UK, that helps cultural institutions to get a major comprehension of their memories and "goods" , of their heritage, through and thanks a wide and global attention of experts and professionals. This thing lacks in Italy and I have pointed out this, into my country , by suggesting it one year ago, directly to my Ministry of Beni Culturali into a correspondence that still now hasn't had an answer [ the main aim was to 'clarify ' how a lost and famous (supposed to be ) Raphael has left Italy and other things] . As you have stated, Dr Regalado, there's a lot of things that need to be discovered and re discovered with more care to let those things come to our heirs , to the future into a more correct and comprehensive way.
For exemple is so great to know that there was in a certain way , across the first years of last century , a 'run' to who had made the most beautiful bust of Piatti, a great figure that today is mostly unknown , not to cello players , or musicologists , or historians of music. The great think it's that this history , the one connected to the busts, to Italy and Uk, have emerged another time, after more than a century, in a moment in which our countries were so close and distant in this pandemy and in which many international subscriptions were made with another aim . Well' I was thinking about promoting the history of those busts into the local newspaper of Bergamo (the Eco) , maybe with the aim find some descendant's, or heirs of Manzoni (if exhisting ) into a faster way, or to have more information on him. Is it possible? For sure this discussion needs to be opened for this summer , or till november to be enriched of new information, if and where found.
* And also Dr Francesco Capitanio (Angelo Mai Library - Library Donizetti ) for having answered to two emails sent by two members of this 'room' , 'prorating' also the 'Piatti's busts cause' another time to the MIA .

Jacinto Regalado,

Victor, I absolutely agree that Italy should have a database comparable to Art UK. Ideally, all countries should have such a database online, which could do a great deal for art research and appreciation. I hope you persist in your suggestion, so that when this pandemic situation normalizes, someone will pay attention and start doing something to make that happen.

Jacinto Regalado,

It would also be wonderful if, after the conclusion of this discussion, the RAM would arrange for a concert of Piatti's music (since he was both a performer and composer) with his bust in attendance.

Jacinto Regalado,

Based on the information posted by Victor, Manzoni's career of roughly a dozen years was confined to Lombardy and almost entirely to the province of Bergamo, where practically all of his known oeuvre remains (the RAM bust is probably his only work outside Italy). Apart from our bust and the presumably related Piatti busts in Bergamo's Teatro Donizetti and Sala Piatti, an earlier bust of a younger Piatti probably by Manzoni at Piatti's burial site in Mozzo (near Bergamo), and the funerary monument to Federico Maironi at the Bergamo Cemetery (?), all other Manzoni works appear to have been religious commissions for various church or chapel settings. This does not include the two secular genre works in plaster shown in Milan in 1906, whose current location, if they are still extant, is unknown.

Jacinto Regalado,

Of the religious sculptures, the polychromed wood images are very traditional and relatively generic; the finest is the figure of the Christ Child (held by St Joseph) in Grignano (Brembate). The outdoor pieces show looser handling; the best are the figures of the four angels in Presezzo. Unless the Maironi monument includes a bust of him, it would appear Manzoni's portrait busts are all of Piatti, and the "old" Piatti looks superior to the younger one (though both were apparently posthumous). Thus, pending seeing the version in the Teatro Donizetti, the RAM would appear to own one of of Manzoni's best works.

Jacinto Regalado,

I did check the location of all the religious works listed by Victor, and they are all in the province of Bergamo (of which the city of Bergamo is obviously the capital).

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

This is the third edition of the file I have posted before . I have found a photography of Ebbra d'Amore (into the 1906 critics) and I was given by Mrs Barzano' Lodetti a photography of the bust of Crocette di Mozzo (the last publication I was waiting to read some days ago and that I considered as linked to the bust kept into the Milan Music Conservatory Verdi for being edited in 1908, was instead a book keeping the publication of the speech held in Lochis chapel in mozzo in 1903!). I can state that there are some consistent differences between the three busts . As the three busts of Manzoni I considered only the one in Mozzo (- 1903), the Mia one (- 1909 - 31/01/1910) and the one held by Donizetti Theatre (- 21/04/1910). By not having some sure information on the one kept by Mia is doubtful to consider fully it as an artwork of Manzoni. It may also be a copy made by anyone in a more recent time, even it may be the probable sketch made by Manzoni and presented to the circolo d'arte (arts club) of Bergamo for having the commission of the Donizetti one. It's important to relieve that the dedication on the Donizetti's bust had been changed , maybe in fascist era, deleting the reference to the city of London .

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Jacinto Regalado,

Thank you, Victor, for your continued hard work. Now we know Manzoni made a somewhat unconventional plaster Pietà shown in Bergamo in 1903 (which may or may not survive), and we know his 1906 "Ebbra d'Amore" was a pair of lovers, with the man supporting the body of the inebriated young woman.

The new images of what I take to be the Teatro Donizetti (TD) bust show it is similar but not identical to ours. The clothing is different, and the overall appearance seems smoother or more finished, with the sitter looking more robust or less old and frail than in the RAM bust (although better photos of the TD bust would certainly be desirable when that is feasible).

I get the sense, perhaps prematurely, that the TD bust, meant for a more public space with heavier traffic than the RAM, may have been relatively "airbrushed," so to speak--which suggests the RAM bust is more true to life and a more penetrating portrayal.

Royal Academy of Music,

Hello Jacinto, Victor and others who have contributed to this fascinating journey of discovery! I have been furloughed and have come back to all this wonderful information which I am still catching up on. Victor - did you say that you have condensed all these findings into an A4 summary? That would be most useful if you are willing to share it, as there seems little point in me 'reinventing the wheel' ,if you have done the heavy lifting, having come to this so late. My colleague started our input into the discussion at the beginning but I have picked it up and I will add a summary of all of this to our collections management system so it will not be a mystery to future generations. I agree that it would be marvellous to stage a concert in our Museum, but sadly that will have to wait due to the ongoing pandemic. In the meantime I am going to share these findings in a virtual event for some of our donors, where I am going to present several objects in our collection, including this bust. Thank you so much for all your great detective work in identifying the sculptor and I will await final conclusions. We are so very grateful to you all.

Jacinto Regalado,

I believe Pieter van der Merwe, as he has done is similar situations involving other relatively obscure artists, has been putting all the relevant data together in an A$ summary which will be shared when the process is concluded.

Royal Academy of Music,

Regarding Jacinto's comment of 7/8/20 we are unable to confirm the exact date of the physical delivery of the bust to the Academy until we can access our Minutes Books onsite - we are all still working remotely. There is this note in our collections system: Notes on the gift of the Piatti bust are recorded in the Committee Minutes, p343, 26/01/1909 and p350-1, 26/10/1910
The thank you letter from the Contessa was dated 31 January 1910, so the second entry in the Minutes must be to do with movement, display or something else entirely, but we still don't know exactly when the bust arrived - just that it was sometime between the 26 Jan and Dec 1909

Royal Academy of Music,

Thank you Jacinto! I hate typos too, but they sometimes slip through....

Jacinto Regalado,

It is of interest that the cello solo in the Prelude to Verdi's I Masnadieri, which premiered in London in 1847 with Verdi conducting, was written for Piatti and performed by him at the premiere.

I will produce - or rather finish off- a biographical summary now we seem to have fairly complete information and images on the various busts (by Manzoni or otherwise). Victor's updated 'running documentation' of which the last version was posted on 15/8/2020 should of course be kept with it by Art UK -or any further update of that.

This may take a few days for practical reasons: there's rather a dense mass of stuff to go through and it will be easier to do by printing some up which I can't do here at present, only in the office.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Good morning to all. For now, it could be considered a little bit early the production a definite summary on the matter, even we have some important keynotes both on Manzoni , both on the three busts (the ones belonging to the RAM , to the Mozzo's Lochis chapel and to the Donizetti theatre). I underline, some important and precise notes that were not present at the beginning .
As Ram have reported , there are some aspects on their bust (and on over the other two busts) that need to be to clarified and we don't only probably need to have some more detailed photographs .
I intend that we are waiting also for an answer by the MIA (for the supposed to be another Manzoni's bust of Piatti ) , we are trying also to have more detailed and precise information on the Ram bust , on its commission and shipment.
I haven't replied yet because I was waiting for some new information from other offices contacted .
The Cemetery of Bergamo have communicated me two days ago , in the late afternoon, that (I'm so sorry for having shared late this update, even if I’m am an art historian now unemployed, I have been busy yesterday in attending my relatives to manage a particular commission) that the Maironi chapel (and the monument to Stefano Maironi da Ponte, nobleman, barrister and deputy) still exist . The same chance ocurred with Chapel Ferrari that is an incredible structure in which probably was developed the theme of Ebbra d'amore, by being represented by Manzoni some nude bodies embracing each other for all the facade of the building that stands into a prominent , relevant and panoramic position of the cemetery.
If those elements wouldn't have survived , it will be not so important to mention them into a biography, or into a brief summary (1) .
By having now a lot of materials it will get so easy to decide what kind of information to report, to develop , or not , into a biography, how to articulate it in the best way (as describing the artist as the author as some particular typology of buildings , or mentioning the most important ones , if you will stress the attention to the most famous productions and not to all ). Regarding to the papers I have posted and shared many times , in different editions , it will be compulsory to considered them as some 'notes', some sketches, that were filled with all the information found and given not to go out from the” main frame”, to lose the main themes of the search, but for eventually satisfy some other curiosities of the RAM, if interested to develop some notes giving more importance to a particular detail, or not (we were and are always obliged to face with the documentational requirements given by the platform ) to give more 'color' to a narration. The sheets I have shared had to be considered only as some papers of work, some notes in which had been collected some information connected to the bust of RAM and to a "phenomenon "occurred in the first 10 years of the century in which took place a sort of challenge in building or in titling some monuments to the cellist of Bergamo . A particular context that is not neglecteable in which have been very active the the Piatti's Daughter, Rosa Costanza, the Circolo d'arte of Bergamo and Arrigo Boito . Those information are really important for the final text (or this thing it seems to me as relevant ), as the last reference transferred by Mr Jacinto Regalado on the Verdi’s Masnadieri that is an episode that should be given to introduce, with a short number of words , the profession and the career of the sitter of the bust (that is fully and with great care described into the italian biographic dictionary published by Treccani).

Today I will contact , for another time, some channels that were contacted previously in Mozzo to get closer to some Lochis heirs and the owners of some Lochis properties .
Well, It will be possible also to me , in the next weeks , to produce a short detailed biography related both to the Manzoni and to the Ram bust that is an Italian artwork dealing with a particular artistic stream developed in the late XIX . Meanwhile, I will write again to Mozzo , after having had a phone call today at 11.00 with the local library.
(1)
The Cemetery of Bergamo is going on to verify if there are some heirs of the relatives of Manzoni . A local journalist will probably help us to gain through another way this goal (by using other channel in a simultaneous way, that will be the publication of a short article, is possible to arrive to a definite answer to the fact that is possible, or not, to get more information) .

Jacinto Regalado,

A passage from the Treccani biography of Piatti about his playing:

The [critical] reviews convey the image of a performer with extraordinary technical skills, able to overcome the most difficult passages with extreme ease, but whose approach is described as chaste, composed and sober, never tending to show off skill in order to amaze and never prone to sentimentality to win the easy approval of the public. He made full use of the instrument's cantabile resources, combining perfect intonation, careful phrasing and absolute mastery of the bow.

Royal Academy of Music,

We have now been able to access the Committee Minutes books at the Royal Academy of Music. Please see attached. The bust was unveiled to the Committee at their meeting on 16 Feb 1910, but it is not minuted exactly what date the bust arrived in the building. Please see attached all relevant entries: 17 Nov 1909 when the offer of 'one of the busts' was conveyed to the Committee by Mr W E Whitehouse on behalf of the Contessa Piatti Lochis; 1 Dec 1909 when Mr Whitehouse thanked the committee for their acceptance letter. He then conveyed this to the Contessa and her letter of thanks was dated 31 Jan as already established. Then on 16 Feb the entire contents of the letter is transcribed into the Minutes, together with the fact that the Committee inspected the bust and expressed great satisfaction.

Jacinto Regalado,

It seems there may have been two letters from the countess, one dated 13 Jan stating that the bust was being sent off by Manzoni to England that same day, and one dated 31 Jan, by which point the bust may have reached England. The letter transcribed into the minutes of 16 Feb as dated 13 Jan is similar but not the same as that in the contessa's hand dated 31 Jan (the transcription may have been a modified version of the original, but the original does not contain the statement that Manzoni was sending off the bust the same day the letter was written). In any case, the bust could not have reached London before January of 1910.

Royal Academy of Music,

Yes Jacinto - you are correct, and my humble apologies for my lack of attention to detail on comparing the wording of the two letters. (Never post in haste at the end of a long day!) We do not have the original letter of 13 January in the collection - only what is transcribed into the Minutes - and as you correctly state, this earlier letter clearly states that the bust was being sent that same day ie 13 January.
We also have numerous other items in the collection relating to Piatti, including these three photos of Piatti's Stradivari and a card from Contessa Piatti Lochis, gifting them to Mr Whitehouse. Other Piatti items can be seen by searching our collections https://keimages.ram.ac.uk/IMU/#/home

Here is a biographical summary of Manzoni, abstracted from a great deal of dense information in this case which I had to print out to extract key detail from. If there are any comments or corrections I would be happy to hear them, since I can't face going back through the entire on-screen discussion stream above again!

The material provided by Victor and those who kindly answered his archival enquiries in Italy would be the basis for a well referenced article on Manzoni in some suitable journal, but probably there rather than in the UK. As usual, the attached summary is just to have something of general 'ready-reference' abstracted from the often tangled exchanges on which they are based - in this case of rather epic scale.

1 attachment
Royal Academy of Music,

Hello Pieter. Thank you so much for this excellent biography and summary of the very lengthy and interesting discussion. Thank you to all who contributed. We really value your great work and the additional understanding it has given us of this collection item. I have shared these finding with colleagues and it will be added to our Collections Management system to aid future research.

Royal Academy of Music, it's very good indeed to know that the hard work done on Art Detective is so much appreciated.

With many thanks again to Pieter for such an excellent biography, Katharine Eustace (Group Leader for Sculpture) will write her summary of the discussion and recommend how to update Art UK as soon as she can. We'll update the record and close the discussion after Katharine has commented.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Goodmorning to all and goodmoring to Dr Marion Richards. In the next days , close to November , I will send another one , more synthetic and correct document regarding Giacomo Manzoni 's biography and the RAM 'bust' , a less than two pages written text that will fit the requests previously made by the institution. A real text and not a large and dispersive 'collection ' of news as the ones previously furnished to share time by time the information gained. I only ask you and the RAM to wait for it . I have devoted some of the last days in communicating , as promised, with a close familiar of one of the Piatti Lochis heirs (identified in other region) and the situation found on the archivistic sources was a little bit complex . There are a lot of things that were reported as necessaries in the request published here over that should be referred (coming from Mia , from the Donizetti Theatre ) and eventually from two other persons I have to contact. I 'm aware that the RAM haven't requested to made an essay for an artistic journal, but to have something useful for a cataloging aim. I have found in the brief summary posted here over, no reference for exemple on Arrigo Boito that was one of the best (and documented ) promoters of the image of the cellist through the Manzoni's works. Can't you and RAM wait a little bit more ?

Victor, good afternoon, and thank you for updating us.

Katharine Eustace will be summarising this long, involved discussion itself (to differentiate her contribution from the biography of the sculptor for Art UK that Pieter has kindly extracted from the thread and the catalogue-type entry you propose for the RAM). When you have posted your own contribution and Katharine has posted her summary, I will close the thread. There is no rush as far as Art UK is concerned. Could I ask you to send your text as a Word doc attachment please?

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, a few minor tweaks.

In the 2nd paragraph, I would include the carver Zenoni's probable given name as (Giuseppe) before his surname.

In the 3rd paragraph, a typo gave an extra "n" to Almenno. In the last sentence of that paragraph, a typo gave an extra "i" to Manzoni, and I think the sentence should read "...in error for it was made by local brothers..."

In the 4th paragraph, I would translate "Ebbra d'Amore" as "Inebriated by Love" rather than "Intoxication of Love" (the ebbra is feminine and refers to the woman in the composition).

In the 5th paragraph, it is Crocetta di Mozzo, not Crocette (the same error occurs in the 6th paragraph).

Thanks all: I'll correct/ adjust my draft from anything else received before the matter closes. It is primarily for Art UK purposes and subject to any in-house editorial changes they may in due course wish to make. Others, not least RAM, will make their own choices of what they wish to extract, keep etc from the large amount of information now available here. I think my only other point to make is that it is the identity of Manzoni and his known work (inc. other versions of the Piatti bust) that has been the main issue addressed here. The wider iconography of Piatti is only relevant where it touches on that.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Good evening dr. Richards. As it will be ready the file I will post in the requested format. I profit to state other considerations on the biography :
1)
Manzoni, as reported also in the transcription of the necrology, seems to be dead in Bergamo, and not in Calusco d'Adda that is a small center in the shire of Bergamo, more than 20 km to the west of the biggest center , close to the river Adda that made 'mad ' Leonardo da Vinci for its tumultuous waters.

2) Concerning the things reported by Dr Jacinto Regalado

on the 5th paragraph :

PVDM was right on writing Crocette di Mozzo. Crocette ("little crosses") is a fraction of the the city of Mozzo that is located mostly over a hill. Is a sort of compound first belonging to all the 'clan ' of the Lochis in which are settled many villas named also "Crocette "and "Crocetta " (""little cross).

Thanks Victor: two questions (1) do you have dates for the Paduan sculptor Pietro Novelli who may have bought works by Manzoni (2) Please spell out what MIA in Bergamo stands for? It does not turn up easily on the web.

Jacinto Regalado,

Novelli seems to have been a minor sculptor of only regional significance who did work for churches as well as funerary or memorial pieces.

Jacinto Regalado,

Thank you for the clarification, Victor. I am sure you are correct, but I was basing my statement on an 1846 book by Guglielmo Lochis about the Villa Lochis and its picture gallery, linked below (clicking on the image of the frontispiece will enlarge it):

https://bit.ly/34r1Sco

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, as I understand it, the MIA is an abbreviation for Misericordia Maggiore, a charitable and cultural foundation in Bergamo dating from the 13th century.

Victor Rafael Veronesi ,

Good morning. I have previously referred about "Mia " inside some older posts and it is the institution referred by Mr. Regalado . Regarding to Novelli, we are not sure that the mentioned "famous artist Novelli " - I'm remember that there was something similar reported into the 1906 critic made for the exhibition of the two Manzoni's artworks inside the Arena of Milan - was a sculptor (because it not seem widely famous ), but as I have reported into a previous message probably the italian actor Ermete that have given also the name to the street in which the sculptor Manzoni have had a residence.

Thanks to both: what I was trying to work out was why the (plaster modello?) Piatti bust - whether by Manzoni or not - that appeared earlier on to be in the Museo Donizettiano was also said to belong to MIA (whatever that was). Now I understand more clearly what MIA is, it seems reasonable to assume that the Museo Donizettiano is either part of it, or the bust was at least on display there at some point.

Jacinto Regalado,

The dates for the famous actor Ermete Novelli are 1851-1919.

Yes but in a similar passing reference - English at least - you would not say 'bought by the artist Olivier' (i.e. Laurence); you'd say 'the actor Olivier' and certainly so if you were aware of a known fine-artist of the same name. I'm not sure that Ermete Novelli -let alone Olivier - would be best described as an 'artiste' either, which as a French term used in English tends to have a more music-hall or circus connotation. Perhaps Italian is less picky in the matter: if Pietro Novelli of Padua really wasn't widely known I suppose one has to assume so, incidental as the matter is

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, no doubt Victor can address the connotations of that word in Italian better than I, but at least in Spanish, the word "artista" is or can be used for an entertainer such an actor.

Jacinto Regalado,

In Manzoni's obituary, Novelli is described as a "celebre artista." Online translation engines suggest that "artista" in Italian can refer to an artist in the English sense as well as a performer like an actor.

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