I often come across work online, some that just captures me immediately, and wonder how it is that I have never heard of the artist behind it. Such is the case with Vittorio Zecchin, an Italian artist who lived from 1878 until 1947. I came across the image above and it really rang my bell. It had vibrant color and shapes throughout with a form and richness that brought the work of Gustav Klimt to mind.
Looking for more info I found that background info on Zecchin was sketchy. He was raised on Murano, one of the famed islands of Venice known for its glass-making. His father was a glass-maker and Zecchin grew up immersed in color and form. He studied art but, feeling his voice would not be heard in the somewhat conservative artistic atmosphere of Venice at the time, put it aside in his early 20’s to pursue a job as civil servant. However, he came back to painting around the age of 30, spurred on by a new movement in Venice of artists inspired by Klimt and other artists.
All of this pieces shown here are from his grandest work, a mural completed in 1914 for the Hotel Terminus that consisted of 11 or 12 panels ( I have found conflicting reports) that measure around 300 feet in total length. Called Les Milles et Une Nuit ( A Thousand and One Nights), it depicts the entourage of kings, queens, princesses and princes as they bear gifts to encourage the Sultan to give his daughter’s hand to Aladdin. You can see the influence of Klimt but more importantly you can see the influence of the glass and color of Venice. Unfortunately, the panels are no longer together, having been dispersed throughout the art world over the years.
From this achievement, Zecchin moved on to incorporating his keen eye for design to other endeavors in the decorative arts. He started a tapestry workshop on Murano in 1916 then became the director of the famed Cappellin-Venini glass works, as well as working with a number of other prestigious glass works until he retired at the age of 6o. He said he was exhausted and he was sucked dry.
I would love to have been able to see this painting complete and in its original setting. Or even in some complete form online. But I am simply pleased to have come across it at all. There is something very encouraging in his work that pleases me. And that is enough for now.