I managed to get up early enough one morning in Venice in order to avoid the crowds and make an uninterrupted video in Campiello Cignogna, just off the Calle Larga XXII Marzo. Behind me is the building that housed Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi’s literary salon in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Click on this link to see the video, another in the series of Redefining Beauty videos that go along with my book, A Beautiful Woman in Venice:
Besides hosting many literary lights, Isabella was also a writer, and here I talk a bit about her Ritratti, or Portraits, of famous men of her times. Isabella’s own portrait was painted by Elisabeth Vigee, as you can see here. Isn’t she delightful?
Literary salons and academies in Venice were originally hosted by men, but by Isabella’s day, women were becoming the arbiters of society. Isabella’s portraits moved the needle forward in this phenomenon. Adept at creating harmony while bringing up lofty topics, Isabella gave men and women a place to verbally spar, where women’s intellect could be appreciated and applauded. She had to walk a tightrope–giving women a voice while not overshadowing the men in their midst. Happily, many men appreciated Isabella’s intelligence and grace.
Very few women in Venice are memorialized in the city. The plaque on the building here is one of the few. Isabella made her mark. I hope you’ll visit more of the sites where these remarkable women lived, prayed, and worked, or where they were baptized or laid to rest.