Ca’ d’Oro


The Ca’ d’Oro is at Cannaregio 3933, Nadali & Vianello (1999) Tav. 17.

In a letter of 23rd September 1845 to his father in relation to ‘restoration work’ Ruskin says of the Ca d’Oro that ‘the beauty of the fragments left behind is beyond all I had conceived (See Works, 3.241fn [n/a] and Works, 8.243). At Works, 11.370f the entry in the Venetian Index gives a much more guarded account of a palace ‘once superb in general effect’ but ‘destroyed by restorations’ and ‘anomalous’ in much of its architecture.

At Notebook M p.74AL Ruskin dates the Ca d’Oro to the 14th century, and at Notebook M2 p.33 he quotes Zanotto (1847) p.422. Ruskin claimed, not altogether accurately, that Zanotto attributed it to the architect of the Ducal Palace. Zanotto merely claimed that it was in the style of the Ducal Palace; he also claimed that it had been restored to its original form.

A footnote at Works, 11.370 refers to the discovery of documents associating Giovanni Bon with the Ca d’Oro, and to the debate about what Ruskin’s reactions might have been, whether aghast that a building of which he was taken to approve should be the work of an architect of whom he disapproved, or vindicated by the evidence that the decline of Gothic had its beginnings here at precisely the time (1424-1430) identified by Ruskin.

Published references to Ca d’Oro in Stones of Venice include (in addition to those above):

Works, 9.292 the Ca d’Oro is an exception to the principle suggested by Ruskin that the Italians were careless in carving upper stories. Compare Notebook M2 p.111.

Works, 10.liv quotes Eastlake on the influence of Ruskin, citing the borrowing of windows from the Ca d’Oro as an example;

Works, 10.281 compares the parapet of the Ca d’Oro compared with the ‘light and crown like ornaments which crest the walls of the Arabian mosque’;

Works, 10.283 the decoration of the parapet seen as a ‘a diadem of silver touched upon the points with gold’;

Works, 10.284 reference to the earthquake of 1511 damaging the parapet of the Ca d’Oro, though it only ‘shook one lily from the brow of the Ducal Palace’;

Works, 11.11 a comparison of the ‘Gothic capitals’ of the Ca d’Oro and the ‘modern imitations’ used in restoration work;

Works, 11.285 reference to the traceries of the great single windows of the Ca d’Oro shown as number 15 in Plate 11 facing Works, 11.285;

References in Notebook M:

In his index to M at Notebook M p.220 Ruskin gives the following references under ‘D’:

Doro, Ca 38-43, 44, 45, 46.

Of these Notebook M pp.38-43, and Notebook M p.44 and Notebook M p.45 are concerned with traceries. There is no explicit reference on Notebook M p.46, though that page is concerned with problems in the development of Gothic and so perhaps for that reason seen as relevant to the Ca d’Oro.

Notebook M p.48L illustrates a moulding on the lower arches of the Ca d’Oro;

Notebook M p.65 compares cusps of the Ca d’Oro with Foscari, Frari, and the church of San Gregorio;

Notebook M p.68 compares traceries of Ca Giustiniani with Ca d’Oro;

Notebook M p.69 compares dentil of Ca Giustiniani with Ca d’Oro;

Notebook M p.74 mentions capitals of Ca d’Oro in the context of a detailed analysis of capitals beginning at Notebook M p.73;

Notebook M p.74AL Ca d’Oro said to be 14th Century;

Notebook M p.87 compares cavetto of Ducal Palace with Ca d’Oro;

Notebook M p.123 Ruskin comments on the late date which Selvatico gives the Madonna dell’ Orto, and the close correspondence between it and bits of the Ca d Oro Foliations and sections’;

Notebook M p.210 compares flat ball in niche spandril of Ducal Palace with similar features in Ca d’Oro, Madonna dell’ Orto, Santo Stefano and Sant’ Apollinare;

References in Notebook M2:

Notebook M2 p.33 records Ruskin’s notes from Zanotto (1847) p.422. Zanotto gives no date but says that it had been restored ‘alla prima sua integrità’. He refers to it as showing the ‘stile dell’autore del Palazzo Ducale’, not quite the point made by Ruskin. A similar point is made about the Ca’ Bembo and Palazzo Priuli, by Zanotto and by Ruskin, at Notebook M2 p.34.

Notebook M2 p.111 Ca d’Oro is a patch work with early Byzantine capitals and florid pilaster heads, and an exception to his general principle that Italian craftsmen were careless in carving upper stories. Compare Works, 9.292.

References in Small Notebooks:

The only references in the small notebooks seem to be those used merely as an indication of the location of some other building - e.g. house opposite the Ca d’Oro.

Introduction Top Level Close

[Version 0.05: May 2008]