About the Artwork on the Cover
What we know about the appearance of Anna Maria della Pietà is limited to a few hints thrown out by the poet who sang her praises in an issue of 18th century Venice’s equivalent to People Magazine, a broadsheet called Palade Veneta. She is supposed to have been beautiful, with dark eyes and fair hair. There are no known paintings of her.
The girl in the picture on the book jacket is someone else entirely, from a painting by Pietro Antonio Rotari. Titled “Young Girl Wearing a Pearl Earring,” the original portrait is rather like the more famous picture by Vermeer. Because ornamentation of any kind was strictly forbidden to the residents of the Ospedale della Pietà (but everyone involved liked the sweet face of the girl depicted), it was decided to use PhotoShop® to remove the girl’s quite large and pendulous earring. We mention this here by way of apologizing to the ghost of Signore Rotari for messing with his lovely painting.
The image in the middle part of the cover is typical of the paintings of Giovanni Antonio Canale, called Canaletto—who was, incidentally, born within a year of Anna Maria. In the 18th century, as now, Venice was a popular tourist destination. Rich collectors were more than delighted to return home with one of Caneletto’s famous views of la Serenissima.
The line of music at the bottom is from Vivaldi’s L’estro Armonico. This happened wholly by accident, much to the delight of the author, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the design of the cover (beyond objecting, for many reasons, to the pearl earring…).