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Zanetti, Antonio Maria Alessandro

    Full Name: Zanetti, Antonio Maria Alessandro

    Other Names:

    • Antonio Maria Zanetti "the Younger"

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1706

    Date Died: 1778

    Place Born: Venice, Veneto, Italy

    Place Died: Venice, Veneto, Italy

    Home Country/ies: Italy

    Subject Area(s): Ancient Italian, Early Western World, Mediterranean (Early Western World), painting (visual works), Venetian (Republic, culture or style), and Viennese

    Institution(s): Biblioteca Marciana


    Historian of Venetian painting. Zanetti began as a draftsman and artist, collaborating with his cousin, also called Anton Maria Zanetti, in illustrations for books. In 1733 he adapted Marco Boschini pictorial analysis of Venitian painting, Le ricche minere della pittura veneziana, (1674) into a new critical work, his Descrizione di tutte le pubbliche pitture della città di Venezia e isole circonvicine. Emboldened by the success of this early work, he set about writing a large-scale account of the Venetian school, Della pittura veneziana e delle opere pubbliche de’ veneziani maestri (1771). Zanetti conceived of art history through an Enlightenment attitude. Descrizione begins with the “Primitives” of Italian art, moving quickly to the Renaissance artists of Venice. He disparaged Mannerism, contrasting it to Venetian painting, and characterizing the former as leading him to the excesses of the baroque. Zanetti was much admired by later art historians, particularly Luigi Antonio Lanzi who characterized Zanetti’s text balanced and his historiography sound. For most of his life, from 1737 onward, he was librarian of the Biblioteca Marciana, the library of S Marco in Venice.

    Selected Bibliography

    Della pittura Veneziana e delle opere pubbliche de’ Veneziani Maestri libri V. Venice: S. Benedetto, 1771; Descrizione di tutte le pubbliche pitture della città di Venezia. Venice: Presso P. Bassaglia, 1733.


    The Dictionary of Art

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Zanetti, Antonio Maria Alessandro." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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