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Print - Santina Zanuzzi

Santina Zanuzzi

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Milan (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1761 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cattaneo, Gerolamo (engravers (incisers))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Marie Rambert

  • Museum number:

    E.4964-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Santina Zanuzzi was an Italian ballerina of the 1760s. Even without the sonnet and the dedication 'ALL'IMPAREGGIABILE SIGNORA / SANTINA ZANUZZI' ('To the incomparable Signora Zanuzzi'), the elaborate design of the print would suggest a very popular performer.
In the background, characters from the commedia dell'arte mix with ordinary townspeople. This may mean that Zanuzzi was a performer in Carlo Goldoni's revolutionary plays. In a commedia dell’arte (literally ‘artistic comedy’) company, each actor developed a specific type of character and comic business, such as a swaggering Captain, old men like Pantaloon or the Doctor, a servant and young lovers; the performance was then improvised around these stock characters and a pre-agreed plot. Instead of the commedia dell'arte's entertainments based on improvisition and stock characters, Goldoni wrote plays based on character and realistic observation of contemporary life.

Physical description

An elaborate scrolled frame, with at the top, a trumpet-blowing angel surrounded by putti and on the left side Mercury; the cherubs hold a scroll inscribed 'ALL'IMPAREGGIABILE SIGNORA / SANTINA ZANUZZI'. The upper print is in the form of a stage curtain, which Mercury and, to the right, a putti, are holding up, revealing a scene from a commedia dell'arte performance. In the background is a market in a town square with various commodia figures and townspeople; in the foreground a man in 18th century dress is kneeling, his right hand on his heart, before a girl in a knee-length hooped dress, decorated with ribbons to form interlacing lozenges. On the curtain is inscribed: SONET TO / Se immote in Te le ciglia, / Mirabile Maestra, / Tien l'elegante e destra / Danzatrice Famiglia / A tue Grazie s'appiglia / A'tuoi Moti s'addestra, / E a destar s'ammaestra / Nuova ognor meraviglia. / La ricca indi rapina / Vedra' il Popol lontano / Fatta all'alta Santina. Ma Te vede Milano / Dell Danze Reina, / E batte mano a mano.'

Place of Origin

Milan (printed and published)

Date

1761 (printed and published)

Artist/maker

Cattaneo, Gerolamo (engravers (incisers))

Materials and Techniques

Engraving

Marks and inscriptions

'ALL'IMPAREGGIABILE SIGNORA / SANTINA ZANUZZI'
On scroll supported by cherubs

'SONET TO / Se immote in Te le ciglia, / Mirabile Maestra, / Tien l'elegante e destra / Danzatrice Famiglia / A tue Grazie s'appiglia / A'tuoi Moti s'addestra, / E a destar s'ammaestra / Nuova ognor meraviglia. / La ricca indi rapina / Vedra' il Popol lontano / Fatta all'alta Santina. Ma Te vede Milano / Dell Danze Reina, / E batte mano a mano.'
On curtain

Dimensions

Height: 517 mm right hand side, Width: 380 mm lower edge

Object history note

The print is part of the collection of dance prints amassed by Marie Rambert and her husband, Ashley Dukes in the first half of the 20th century. Eventually numbering 145 items, some of which had belonged to the ballerina Anna Pavlova, it was one of the first and most important specialist collections in private hands.
Rambert bought the first print as a wedding present but could not bear to give it away. As the collection grew, it was displayed in the bar of the Mercury Theatre, the headquarters of Ballet Rambert, but in 1968, Rambert gave the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum; seven duplicates were returned to Rambert, but these are catalogued in Ivor Guest’s A Gallery of Romantic Ballet, which was published before the collection came to the V&A. Although often referred to as a collection of Romantic Ballet prints, there are also important engravings of 17th and 18th century performers, as well as lithographs from the later 19th century, by which time the great days of the ballet in London and Paris were over.

Historical context note

Santina Zanuzzi was an Italian ballerina of the 1760s.
In the background, characters from the commedia dell'arte mix with ordinary townspeople. This may mean that Zanuzzi was part of Carlo Goldoni's revolution in Italian theatre. Goldoni's plays, based on character and realistic observation of contemporary life, gradually replaced the commedia dell'arte's entertainments based on improvisition and stock characters.

Descriptive line

Santina Zanuzzi. Engraving by Gerolamo Cattaneo, Milan 1761.

Subjects depicted

Commedia dell'arte

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Prints

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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