Ca' Pesaro

Ca' Pesaro

CESARE LAURENTI. The Rialto Fish Market.

Cesare Laurenti

Born in Mesola in 1854, Laurenti was educated in Padua. In 1876 he went to Florence and attended the Academy before going to Naples in 1878 to meet Domenico Morelli, one of the greatest innovators in Italian painting in the 1800s. Today little is known about the relationship between the two artists but it left a clear mark on Laurenti’s artistic development.
Immediately after his return to Padua, he moved to Venice where he initially devoted himself to genre production, following in Giacomo Favretto’s footsteps, the latter being the height of fashion in the city at that time, but then gradually went on to literary and mythological allusions, at times treating them with what seemed to be superficiality.

In 1891 he was awarded a prize at the Milan Triennale with Le Parche. From this moment onwards, his works were rich in psychological introspection, metaphorical allusions and his attention was clearly on symbolist poetics.
During this period he produced some of his most important paintings, for example Fioritura Nova (on show in the room in Ca’ Pesaro), which were presented in various editions of the Venice Biennale, of which he was one of the main supporters from its very beginning (1895) and which was to dedicate a personal room to his work in 1907.

At the beginning of the century Laurenti ventured into a profound reappraisal of the great Venetian and Italian classical tradition; his technical-pictorial research study was no stranger to this and it was to result in the so-called “Laurenti tempera”, and the ingredients of this preparation are still unknown today.

During this period he also completed extensive decorative cycles, for example the ceramic frieze for the 1903 Biennale Modern Portrait Room and the frescoes in two dining rooms in the Albergo allo Storione in Padua in 1905.

This ideal of public art was exalted in the creation of the Rialto Fish Market, inaugurated in 1908. With the architectural design by Domenico Rupolo (1861-1945), the building is a true manifesto of the synthesis between the major and applied arts.

However, the majestic Monument to Dante Alighieri that Laurenti wanted to have built on Monte Mario in Rome was to remain on paper; designed and presented in 1911 on the occasion of the International Exhibition in Rome, he worked on this project until his death.
The artist died on 8th November 1936.