2007: The Facsimile of Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana

Commented by: Matilde Cartolari

In 1563 the rear wall of the refectory of S. Giorgio Maggiore’s monastery in Venice was decorated with the large-scale painting The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese. Taken to Paris after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, the painting was never returned. In 2007 the bare wall of the refectory in S. Giorgio Maggiore was filled with an extremely accurate digital facsimile of the missing painting held in Paris. Such replacement challenges our notions of authorship, uniqueness and originality, while indirectly testifying to the sense of loss created by the displacement itself.

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1830 (ca.): Canova presenting recovered Roman treasures to the Pope

Kommentiert von: Matilde Cartolari

After surrendering to Napoleonic troops in 1797, the Papal States had to cede to the French government one hundred selected masterpieces from their collections. In accordance with revolutionary ideology, this process represented a way to democratize the former aristocratic and clerical culture by exhibiting it in the newborn French public museums. Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, however, prompted claims for restitution by the restored sovereigns. Given the difficult political situation, Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti turned to the unassailable authority of Antonio Canova, universally acknowledged as the greatest artist of that time, to negotiate the restitution of the confiscated artworks.

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