The Wikipedia entry on Italian painter and designer Alessandro Sanquirico reads:
Alessandro Sanquirico (Milan, July 27, 1777 – Milan, March 12, 1849) was an Italian scenic designer, architect, and painter.
He provided the decorations for the celebration of the crowning of Ferdinando I of Austria, as king of Lombardy and the Veneto. He designed the architectural and painted scenery for performances at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Teatro Alberti of Desenzano, the Teatro Sociale of Canzo, the Teatro Sociale of Como, and the Teatro Municipale of Piacenza.
He worked with Andrea Appiani and Bargigli in the design of the Arena Civica of Milan. He provided the scenography for ballets by Salvatore Viganò. He helped decorate ceilings in the Cathedral of Milan.
The Italian version is the same length. This is surprising for an artist who was so important in his day yet, it seems, he fell out of fashion. Although it isn't mentioned in Wikipedia, Sanquirico designed the first production of Norma at La Scala in 1931, for example.
Sanquirico's connection with the Milanese theatre is an important one, he even studied architecture and perspective with Giuseppe Piermarini, the architect of La Scala, and designed over – hold your breath – 300 productions for the theatre, including many premières. For fifteen years, from 1818 to 1832 he dominated the visual style of the theatre, not only on stage, but also in the auditorium. He designed the ballets of Salvatore Viganò at the beginning of the 19th Century, and the world premières of Rossini's La gazza ladra, Bellini's Il pirata, La straniera, La sonnambula and Norma; and Donizetti's Anna Bolena, Ugo conte di Parigi and L'elisir d'amore.
He was largely forgotten by the Milanese, until recently.
Vittoria Crespi Morbio, writer of an exceptional collection of books produced by the Amici della Scala, was researching Sanquirico's life and work for a new volume, which will be launched later this month. She went to Milan's imposing Cimitero Monumentale where Verdi's librettists Arrigo Boito and Francesco Maria Piave, Franco Corelli, Vladimir Horowitz, Alessandro Manzoni, Amilcare Ponchielli, Arturo Toscanini, and many other figures central to Milan's cultural life are buried. Among them is Alessandro Sanquirico. Crespi Morbio was horrified to find his un-named remains in a small angle of the central ossuary.
Determined to put things right, she stepped through a bureaucratic minefield until in February last year, Sanquirico's remains were transferred to the prestigious entrance area of the cemetery where “those who have made Milan great” are buried. In marble are engraved the words:
Alessandro Sanquirico, 1777-1849 Scenografo del Teatro alla Scala
Vittoria Crespi Morbio's book Alessandro Sanquirico: Teatro, feste, trionfi” is published on 26 November by Amici della Scala – Umberto Allemandi & C. (24 x 34cm – €35)
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
What a wonderful article, excellent reporting. Thank you for this!