The re-discovery of Vittore Carpaccio in the 19th century has been generally attributed to John Ruskin. Is this true? No doubt this is so in the Anglo-Saxon world, as shown by a 1924 story by American writer Edith Wharton, where John Ruskin becomes a fictional character causing the protagonist to change his tastes in favor of the “primitives” and Carpaccio. The focus is then on Ruskin and Henry James, admirers of Carpaccio, and on other great American writers of the 19th century who ignored the painter. An English woman critic, very popular in the 1850s, Anna Jameson, wrote at length on him. By the end of the 19th century seeing Carpaccio was a “must” for visitors going to Venice. The popularity of Carpaccio is reconstructed on the basis of two diaries, Lady Layard’s and Zina Hulton’s: not only had D’Annunzio a bed like St. Ursula’s made for him, but a French lawyer had a whole room like St. Ursula’s, in "The Dream of St. Ursula", built for him in his Venetian Palazzo.
Rosella Mamoli Zorzi is professor emerita of Anglo-American Literature at the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari. Her most recent work is the critical edition of The Aspern Papers and Other Tales, by Henry James, Cambridge University Press, 2022, edited with Simone Francescato; in 2022, with K. Manthorne and S. Fornasiero, she has edited the Italian edition of Dal buio alla luce, scrittori nei musei prima della luce elettrica, Roma, Società Dante Alighieri. For a long time she has worked on Anglo-American writers and their relationships with Venice and Venetian painters. With Supernova she has published fairly recently Wonder and Irony. With Henry James and Mark Twain in the Venice Ducal Palace (2018), ‘Almost a Prophet’, Henry James on Tintoretto (2018), Ralph W. Curtis, un pittore americano a Venezia (2019).