Casa di Carlo Goldoni

Carlo Goldoni's house

Layout and collections

First floor – Room 3

The Scenery here depicted is inspired by the second Act – Scene 5, 6 of one of the sixteen famous new comedies that Carlo Goldoni had performed in 1750, Il giocatore (The Gambler). Florindo falls into the hands of Lelio, a dishonest gambler. Meeting his ruin through gaming, he loses his fiancée, Rosaura, his friends, and only the intervention of old Pantalone, who will force Lelio to return a part of the ill-gotten gains, will save him from the peril of wedding Gandolfa, an elderly, frivolous and depraved aunt of Rosaura’s. Addiction and subjection to gambling are the themes detailed by Carlo Goldoni, so real and entrenched in the Europe of the 18th century and so modern even nowadays. After playing all night and strangely winning, Florindo wishes to put order in his small treasure-trove. But who is addicted does not know when it’s best to stop, therefore upon awaking he imagines further, much larger and more substantial gains compared to the night before, and he elaborates a thought: “I play like a man, I know my quarter-of-an-hour, and it’s impossible for me not to win in the long run”.

In the room there are a small table with folding top, rectangular design and drawer below (late 18th century) and armchairs in carved wood, with padded back framed in wood with a central shell motif, moulded arms ending in a spiral. Veneto area, second half of the 18th century. The painting on the wall “Il Parlatorio”, oil on cavas by the Bottega of Pietro Falca, called Longhi (1740 – 1750), create links with the evocative atmosphere in the room, representing a children playing with some puppets.

In fact, in this room, there is also a puppet theatre belonging to the collection of the family Grimani ai Servi: it attest sthe excellence of Venetian craftsmanship in this sector very well, one of the most sophisticated and the one which came closest to representing a clever imitation of real life.

«A delightful amusement» – according to the autobiographical memoir by the author – which Giulio Goldoni, Carlo’s father, had had made in this house for his son’s entertainment. Puppet theatre represented a playful training medium during the Venetian 18th century for literary and musical contests and was a resourceful domestic surrogate in lieu of public theatre seasons. In addition, it also embodied a sort of “chamber theatre”, as opposed to a “heater in the square”, enlivened by puppet performances.

The scene represented in the puppet theatre is inspired by the Third Act – Scenes XIII and XIV of Il servitore di due padroni (The Servant of Two Masters). Written by Carlo Goldoni in 1745 and was performer with great success. In our times, G. Strehler directed it and changed its title into “Harlequin, servant of two masters”, contributing to make this piece famous worldwide. The action is centred on Truffaldino’s character and his imbroglios to be at service of Beatrice but also of Florindo.
In the scene Clarice plays hard to get, now that she is sure Silvio loves her and that all the misunderstandings that happened took place due to his love for her, and does not wish to grant him her hand any longer. Then Brighella enters announcing the arrival of Beatrice dressed as a man.

The theatre has been made workable for the creation of possible shows. More puppets, furthering knowledge and admiration not only for the particular sophistication of such artefacts, but also for the extraordinary “engineering” of their mechanisms, are also on display in dedicated cabinets.

The side walls have enlargements of details from famous Pietro Longhi paintings. The artist and the playwright were bound not only be a certain similarity of sensibility and subject-matter, but also by great mutual esteem. Carlo Goldoni, in the dedication of Il Frappatore to Marco Pitteri, wrote: “our mutual friend, the famous Pietro Longhi, painter, a great and most individual imitator of Nature, who through his rediscovery of an original way of expressing men’s passions and characters in paint, has greatly added to the glories of the Art of Painting.”