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Wladimiro Dorigo donates his library and scientific archive to the University of Venice July 29, 2008

Posted by dorigo in Art, books, history, news, personal.
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This morning I attended a very important meeting in the offices of a notary in Venice, together with my two brothers and the rector of the University of Venice. After two years of complicated negotiations, funding proposals to participating institutions, reviews of draft documents, walk-throughs, and miscellaneous diplomacy, we finally agreed to a document with which the University “Ca’ Foscari” of Venice accepts the donation of the personal library and archive of my father, consisting in about 10,000 volumes, thousands of periodicals, and a sixty-year-long scientific archive of his research activities. Wladimiro Dorigo passed away on July 1st, 2006, after having spent the last months of his life attempting to organize his vast material in the prospect of a donation to the University, which was his workplace for the last thirty years of his career.

I am very happy of finally fulfilling that desire of my father, but the hard part has not started yet. After the move of the material, which in Venice is not a trivial thing to do, a very detailed inventory and cataloging are estimated to take two more years. Then, the books and the scientific archive will finally be made available to researchers and students in the BAUM, the library of the University, which already arranged the area where the donation will be kept.

The BAUM already collects the volumes which were originally dispersed in the various departments, for a total of about 250,000 books. Today’s addition is a fairly small one, but the symbolic meaning is not negligible: Wladimiro Dorigo worked for all his life for Venice: for its history, its culture, and its future. He was an administrator in the fifties, a journalist in the sixties, a director of the archive of the Biennale di Venezia in the seventies, and a professor of medioeval art history and a researcher for the rest of his life. With his library, the University accepts his legacy of a lifetime spent desperately loving Venice.



1. mfrasca - July 29, 2008

My best compliments to your for father for his activity. I think it is an honor to be part in a meeting like this for parents work.

Marco Frasca

2. Anisotropie - July 29, 2008

My best compliments to your father.
There are so many Venetians that love Venice… but, for some reasons, things are going from bad to worse.

3. carlbrannen - July 31, 2008

Congratulations on the honor for your father!

Everyone I know who’s been involved in 2 years of negotiations were getting divorced. Any time you can complete such a long discussion successfully it has to be a relief, and on a good subject it must feel doubly good.

4. dorigo - July 31, 2008

Thank you all. Yes, Venice is going downhill.
Carl, yes, it was a relief, but now the tough part starts… Making things work: the move, the cataloging, the offer to users, a workshop.

5. Plato - July 31, 2008

I am sure that your father would be proud of his sons who are carrying out his wishes.

This a “wonderful legacy” with which to leave for others. A son, who follows in his footsteps perhaps, by sharing the knowledge with others unconditionally?


6. Plato - July 31, 2008

dorigo:professor of medioeval art history and a researcher for the rest of his life

Signatores room in the Vatican.”

The Room of the Segnatura contains Raphael’s most famous frescoes. Besides being the first work executed by the great artist in the Vatican they mark the beginning of the high Renaissance. The room takes its name from the highest court of the Holy See, the “Segnatura Gratiae et Iustitiae”, which was presided over by the pontiff and used to meet in this room around the middle of the 16th century. Originally the room was used by Julius II (pontiff from 1503 to 1513) as a library and private office. The iconographic programme of the frescoes, which were painted between 1508 and 1511, is related to this function.

If you note on my site, the heading and picture comes clipped from the Signature’s room at the Vatican. Did your father ever comment on this?

7. dorigo - July 31, 2008

Hi Plato,

I do not think he did. My father taught medioeval art history, and did not deal with renaissance as far as I know. He surely knew and visited those frescoes, however. And, since he wrote many books which I never had a chance to read yet, I might one day find out I am wrong.


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