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 Carlo Gino Venanzi  (1875 - 1964)

About: Carlo Gino Venanzi


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Lived/Active: Missouri / Italy      Known for: religious painting, altar decoration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Randal J. Loy, Historian to the Dean of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City, Missouri

Carlo Venanzi, painter and architect, studied art in Siena, Florence, and Rome, and was a member of the Academy of Belle Arte, in Perugia, the capital of Umbria, in Central Italy. In 1910, Signore Venanzi married an artist named Bertha Rockwell (1874-1970), who was the daughter of grain dealer and banker Captain Bertrand Rockwell (1844-1930) and his wife, Julia Marshall Snyder Rockwell (1850-1947). Bertha and her family were living in Kansas City, Missouri, at the time of the wedding, which took place in the home of Captain and Mrs. Rockwell. Venanzi and Bertha Rockwell also owned several residences in Italy. In Assisi, they owned a villa on Capri, and 11th Century monastery, as well as a home that was requisitioned by the Italian dictator, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (1883-1945).  From the information at hand, it appears that Venanzi spent the last 20 years of his life in Italy.

In January of 1922, he painted images and decorations on the High Altar in the Apse of Grace and Holy Trinity Church (now Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral) in Kansas City, Missouri.  He was commissioned to do that work by his mother-in-law and father-in-law.  Unfortunately, the three images -- Saint Peter, with the keys of Heaven, Saint John (the Beloved) holding a chalice, (a reference to John's victory over the priest of the Temple of Diana in Ephesus,) and Christ -- were damaged in a fire that occurred in March of 1929. Venanzi retouched those images, but after a decade they had deteriorated so badly that they were removed and were replaced.

In 1991, the High Altar was dismantled and removed from the Apse, and was replaced by a new Reredos. I do not know the final disposition of the images that Venanzi painted in 1922, but I believe that they were in such poor condition in 1939 that they were probably discarded. I do know that the High Altar was carted away as junk after it was dismantled and de-consecrated.

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