Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

Charlatan in Bologna with a snake

by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli - 1634-1718

What the Charlatan is, in the end:

  • Elixirs, dubious medicines seller
  • Dentist and doctor if necessary
  • He has to be a relentless and convincing talker
  • Sometimes he shows uncommon animals (snakes, monkeys) to attract the audience attention
  • He moves from market to market, so he has a precarious way of living. Also to avoid to get caught by the people who he had conned the day before ... I would say.
  • He is a free entertainer to:
  • - attract his public (with Music, Puppets)
    - create positive and relaxed vibes
    in the audience
    - get the trust of his potential clients
    - do some tricks or acrobatic excercises

Not an easy life maybe, but with its advantages for sure.

"Costui, che d'angue, e vipere pungenti
Vuol far de l'Anatomico facondo,
Sol mostra sù l'autentiche patenti
Il privilegio d'ingannare il Mondo."

"This guy that with eels
and stinging vipers
Pretends to be an important
expert in Anatomy,
Only shows, without any doubt,
The privilege of cheating the World."

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli: "Itinerant medicine vendor on stage
with a snake" - engraving (1660)

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