Saturday, 7 March 2009

Who was *Guido* Spinazzola?

A request for help from my BloggingPompeii colleagues: I'm working on a project about excavation photographs taken during Vittorio Spinazzola's excavations along the Via dell'Abbondanza. There's plenty that's fascinating about them (as I hope you can see in the above photo of excavations in the House of Octavius Quartio): among other attributes, their emphasis on the process of excavation, their presentation of reconstructed stage sets of Pompeian life, and the artistic sensibility that infuses the shots.

For a while I had little luck tracking down anything about the relationship between photographers and excavators other than the very obvious point that the latter had a distinct taste for appearing frequently and prominently in the images. I've recently discovered, however, that Vittorio Spinazzola appears to have employed two photographers in sequence. The first, Domenico Losacco De Gioia, had an extensive track record in the artistic world of Naples. The second has a very suggestive name -- Guido Spinazzola. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to dig up anything about him. Does anyone happen to know much about the Spinazzola family tree or have any suggestions about where I might find out more? Your help is very appreciated.


Jo Berry said...

Presumably you've checked all the major archaeological photographic archives (DAI, AAR, Alinari, Van der Poel/Getty, poss. also Archivio dello Stato and the archives/library of the Museo Nazionale di Napoli)? Working on the assumption that 'Guido' was related to Vittorio (brother? cousin?), I wonder if you might be able to track him down via the archive of books recently donated to the SAP by Vittorio's grandson? The grandson's name is Francesco Scotta di Freca and he also seems to be an archaeologist. Maybe you could write to him and ask about Guido?

Jo Berry said...

I also wanted to say - isn't that photo great?! I love the way they've lined it up so that the workmen are framed by the columns. And see how the excavators have restored the pergula (including what looks like wisteria) before they've even finished the excavation of the garden! Love it!

Jennifer Stephens said...

A colleague of mine currently doing research at the Getty Research Institute Library in Special Collections, recently sent me some information from the Van der Poel Special Collection in which Guido Spinazzola is mentioned in a typescript in the Tatiana Warscher papers, Series IIC, Box 163, re bomb damage. (She is checking the Box number to make sure it is the right one)! Quote: " ....among the collaborators of Spinazzola are to be specially remembered his photographers: Domenico Losacco De Gioia and Guido Spinazzola, a man full of artistic taste and feeling".

Two years ago we met with the publishers at the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca Dello Stato in Rome and found out that they are still apparently in touch with, and paying royalties to the Spinazzola family.

One other(faint)possibility: during our research into via dell'Abbondanza for our project, we finally, after a couple of years, tracked down the son of Alberto Sanarica who produced orthographic drawings, watercolors and charcoal drawings for the Spinazzola Pompei alla luce degli Scavi Nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923). He lives just outside Pompeii and we went to visit him at his home - we were trying to find out if he had any of the original drawings made by his father. It's possible, although probably very unlikely, that he may have some information in some of his father's papers. Let me know if you think that this might be worth pursuing.

Related Posts with Thumbnails