Piero Falchetta e Marta Becherini
I Quaderni dell’Albero d’Oro, 2
Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro Edizioni, Venezia, 2023
Published in occasion of exhibition Nicolò Manucci il Marco Polo dell'India, un veneziano alla corte Moghul nel XVII secolo, I libri indiani di Nicolò Manucci (1638-1720) is the second in a series of insights into individual works, on exhibit at Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, from the series I Quaderni dell’Albero d’Oro. Palazzo Vendramin Grimani therefore becomes a meeting place and a hub of information, opening its exhibition space to episodes of Venetian art and history, which would otherwise remain unknown to many.
I libri indiani di Nicolò Manucci (1638-1720) sums up the extraordinary and tormented events which saw Nicolò Manucci’s work initially put together with great effort and commitment over many long years and then inappropriately exploited by those who were not fully entitled to do so, and subsequently championed and defended by the Venetian authorities and in the end abandoned to a far from glorious destiny and oblivion. At the same time, the book retraces the tale of the still little-known but highly interesting collection of Indian miniatures collected by Manucci as a visual testament of local realities to be offered to the European reader, setting it within the context of the early modern collecting trends and emphasising its uniqueness.
This summary study curated by Piero Falchetta with the collaboration of Marta Becherini retraces the editorial vicissitudes and investigates the historical and cultural circumstances that led to the failure to publish the manuscripts of Storia do Mogor as it had been conceived by its author.
For many years, Piero Falchetta edited the map collections of Venice's Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. A historian of cartography, travel and navigation, he has been studying Nicolò Manucci since writing his dissertation for his specialisation in Neo-Latin Philology. He has dedicated several studies to this figure and to his Storia do Mogor particularly a monograph published by Franco Maria Ricci reproducing the 130 miniatures that the Venetian traveller sent to Europe from India. He has since followed this publication up with several contributions to Italian and foreign magazines.
Marta Becherini graduated in Oriental Languages and Civilisations from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and later completed a PhD in Indian Subcontinent Art History at Columbia University in New York. She has taught history of art courses at the university level (at Columbia University and Beijing Jiaotong University) and worked as a researcher at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her research focuses on the genesis of European collections of Indian paintings in the early modern age, and in particular on the collection gathered by Nicolò Manucci, which is among the largest and most varied of his time.
The volume will be available for purchase at the Palazzo Vendramin Grimani ticket office and from the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro online bookshop.