056. david spinetto ◊

08 Dec 2007

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

As is the case with most European families, Argentine-born sons were often named after their father, so there are actually two David Spinettos buried here. One was born in Genoa, immigrated to Argentina, & opened the first wholesale fruit & vegetable market within the city limits of Buenos Aires in 1898. Located in the center of town, it did a booming business. David’s plaque is on the left. On his death, the Mercado Spinetto was run by his son-in-law, Juan Sanguinetti… seen on the plaque on the right.

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

Unfortunately a wave of privatization in the 1990s shut the market down. Today only its shell remains—the interior gutted & occupied by a megachain supermarket:

Mercado Spinetto, Balvanera, Buenos Aires

Mercado Spinetto, Balvanera, Buenos Aires

Son David left his mark as well. He became a doctor but instead of practicing, opted for administration. He ran the Hospital Italiano & dedicated his life to promoting his family’s Italian culture. It’s not surprising then that this spectacular door was imported from Milan in 1912… don’t miss the inscription on the lower left corner:

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

Magnificently Art Nouveau, the crown of thorns has been turned into a decorative frame for St. George killing a dragon—a symbolic representation of the devil. St. George was a Christian soldier, born in Turkey & martyred around the year 300. As one of the patron saints of Genoa where the Spinettos hailed from, they pay a spectacular tribute to their homeland. Hands down, this gets my vote for Best Door in the entire cemetery.

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

The vine design surrounding the exterior cross is repeated inside… although it’s difficult to peek through the small gaps in the St. George door. Another Art Nouveau-inspired image visible is a bat just above the altar. A creature of the night, what better symbol to watch over the residents of a cemetery?

David Spinetto, Recoleta Cemetery

View eighth photo larger on Flickr.

8 responses

  1. Angel David Pini Spinetto comments:

    Very good review! As the oldest great grandson of David Spinetoo Sr. I would like to point out that the Mercado Ciudad de Buenos Airers (Spinetto) was actually founded in 1894.
    Thank you for your excellent report.

  2. Robert comments:

    Thank you very much Angel for leaving a comment. Te puedo hacer una consulta?? Nosotros que quieren preservar el patrimonio de la ciudad vamos catalogando la obra de varios arquitectos. Como digo en la nota, hay evidencia que la puerta de la boveda de tu familia fue diseniada por Mario Palanti. Uds por casualidad tienen algo documento familiar que puede comprobar ese dato? Seria de gran ayuda. Un abrazo!

  3. Angel David Pini Spinetto comments:

    Hi Robert! First of all, please excuse my “keyboard” mistakes. I was in a hurry!
    Yes, I have some letters which I will have tol ook up in my files. I am at present trying to organize them and protecting letters and other family papers in adequate files, etc. It might take a few days, perhaps a week or so to find Palanti’sc correspondence. We were eight, four brothers and four sisters. My brother Jorge passed away in 2001 at the age of 55. As you can well understand, in large families, papers, files, complete libraries,end up scattered and most times wasted. While this is not exactly our case, I do not know how careful my other brothers and sisters have been in keeping such material. I remember my grandfather David J. Spinetto had a unique book on Mario Palanti’s works and sketches, dedicated to him in longhand by Palanti himself. But I lost track of that book. Some years ago, I bought a book on Palanti with fabulous photographs, excelent binding and in premium shape. Therein is a full page picture of the vault’s door.
    I seem to remember that Palanti´s relationship with my grandfather became more distant as the architect became closer and closer to Mussolini and his regime. Luckily my grandfather was a bitter anti fascist, to the point of refusing a decoration from the Italian Govt. in the twenties, because the decree was not signed by the king but by Mussolini. The Italian Republic, retributed this gesture by decorating him with the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana as Ufficiale on June 2nd, 1960. This diploma and decoration is in my posession.
    Please feel free to contact me on whatever matter you may need on this subject or other related to my family or other major Italian names.With best personal regards, Angel David Pini Spinetto.

  4. Robert comments:

    Hi Angel – I apologize for answering so slowly… I’m in Spain with a group touring around the country & am really busy with work. But I would appreciate any information you could provide about Palanti & his interaction with your family. I can understand how documents get spread out among different family members, but obviously it is very important from a patrimonio point of view. I’ll be back in BsAs in July & would love to chat for a bit. Thanks! Un abrazo, Robert

  5. Carlos Hilger comments:

    Señor Roberto:
    No tengo el gusto de conocerlo, personalmente. Estudio mucho la obra de Palanti, y me he detenido a investigar su profunda iconografía de Dragones. Si tiene el libro de Prima Esposizione Personale habrá visto que es así En el Barolo aparecen dos dragones uno macho el otro hembra. En un edificio de la calle Rivadavia los usa de capiteles. También aparecen en varios proyectos no realizados. El arquitecto Palanti es de Milán. En la tumba de David Spinetto aparece San Jorge matando un dragón hembra y mamífero según la imagen por usted publicada de dicho mausoleo. Se habrá fijado que el dragón esta con su abdomen hacia arriba con la clara intención de mostrar las tetillas, por le que deduzco es hembra y no es reptil. Parece una perra que dio a luz recientemente. Me extraña mucho esa imagen. Su dualidad reptil vs. mamífero hembra. Además hace más curioso el tema que San Jorge no es el Santo Patrón de Génova, sino que es San Juan Evangelista. Por lo que creo que debía pertenecer a alguna cofradía religiosa o algo por el estilo, al igual que Palanti. Como veo que usted tiene contacto con la familia me gustaría saber si usted puede resolver esta curiosidad. Desde ya muy agradecido, Carlos Hilger

    También sirve el: hilger@ciudad.com.ar

  6. Robert comments:

    Hola Carlos –

    Gracias por el comentario. Conozco el Palacio Barolo bien y muchos de los edificios que Palanti construyó aca en Capital y sí, sin duda, le gustaba usar la imagen del dragon para decorar. Pero lo que ves en la puerta como una mezcla de dos animales, no creo que Palanti queria dar esa idea. Si buscas en internet imagenes de San Jorge y el dragon, algunas tienen algo tipo garras justo abajo del cuello largo. Por ejemplo:

    San Jorge, dragon

    Supongo que con tantas representaciones de esa escena mítica, Palanti eligió una así para usar en la puerta. Bueno, es mi hipótesis. Dudo que la familia sepa algo al respeto pero si encuentro el mail de Ángel, le pregunto.

    San Jorge es uno de los tantos santos patrones de Génova. Fijáte en Wikipedia… los genoveses, con su flota mercantil, son responsables de tanta difusión del santo en Europa. Saludos!

  7. Virgi comments:

    Hola Angel,
    cómo puedo contactarlo para hacerle una entrevista?

  8. Maribel comments:

    Hola, necesito contactarme con Ángel David Spinetto Pini para hacerle una nota, sobre David Spinetto, muchas gracias!

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