* A “Renaissance self-fashioning.” (Rosand) * “Venice had refined a portrait of itself that responded to and exploited historical circumstance.” (Rosand) * Myth= fictions or half-truths * Personification of Venice- the values of the state embodied in the Virgin, Justice, Venus and Juno * The perfection of a monarchy, oligarchy and democracy combined * Wealth, power and cosmopolitanism was derived from its location * Rule of law held it all together
* Claimed to be the first republic born in a Christian era * Grew up on the mudflats, protected by water and the Lido * Foundation date March 25 421AD- You must memorise this date How did the location influence the physical structure of Venice?
* “It seemed impossible to separate the uniqueness of its legal constitution from the singularity of its physical site”.(Rosand) * 1177 Doge Ziani mediated between the Pope and the HRE Barbarossa => supposedly V received the trionfi gifts: umbrella, candle, sword, ring, seal, banners and musical instruments. * Originally painted as a cycle in the Ducal Palace but were lost in the 1574 and 1577 fires. The PAINTINGS became the verifying documents that the event had taken place. * Venice was quick to take advantage of the printing press to verify other claims. Created the idea of a copy-write privilege * A German in 1500 received a 4 year contract on Barbari’s woodcut. Kohl (the German) said he did it “principally to the fame of this sublime city.”
* A lot is connected with this date and it is important that you familiarise yourself with all of the aspects. * March 25 421AD- the day the first stone on the Rialto islands was laid * Ascendancy of Venus * Feast of the Annunciation- when the Virgin is told by Archangel Gabriel that she is pregnant * Also was connected with the crucifixion by the C15th * March was also the ancient start of the year. * ‘Venice was a new Jerusalem’ bring political salvation to the world. * Begins to explain why Venice was often depicted as the Virgin/Venus
* Features with Gabriel in the 2 most southerly reliefs on San Marco’s façade * Also features across the C16th gate of the Rialto-> Rialto was a civic sacred ground, it was were the city was born and continued to dominate through trade * Coronation of the Virgin by Guariento 1365, partially lost in the 1577 fire, was located in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio = harmony reigns with the Patricians * Was replaced with Tintoretto’s painting of the same matter called Paradise, in which Jesus is directly behind the Doge’s chair * V saw itself as sharing the divinely chosen honour with the Virgin * V’s independence is similar to virginity
* Lions near a throne is a symbolic connection with Solomon the Wise from the bible. He wrote advise for rulers. * Justice was also used to represent the embodiment of V * Personification of Justice/V covers the Ducal palace = Venice is justice * To assist tourists with the symbolic nature of V art a guide to the Ducal Palace was published in 1587- notice the date, this is during the decline of V as an empire and military power * Festa della Sensa->Ascension Day-> “We espouse thee, O Sea, as a sign of true and perpetual domination”, Venetia is the maiden on the helm. Also connects to the Papal gifts (Trionfi) of 1177. * 1411- Filippo Corsini identified V respect for law as its main reason for its longevity
* V had been placed under interdict numerous times;1508, 1605 * Defiance of Rome was herald by Paolo Sarpi, a satirist who wrote scathing accounts and who also suffered from an attempted assassination during that time 5/10/1607 (rumoured to be from Papal orders) * V ordered that churches keep open and operating * Pope Pius II liked the Venetians to fish an what could they possibly know of God and law. * C16th proverb “Venetian law does not last a week.” * “The celebration and discussion of the virtues of V society… accelerated from the close of the period (C15th) as V emerged as one of the few Italian states to survive foreign invasion and as the stability of the V society appeared to contrast with the upheavals experience in the rest of C16th Europe.” (Hay and Law) Focus on the: contrast * Enlightenment historians saw V as a sinister oligarchy. 1743 Rousseau called the Council of 10 “a tribunal of blood, an object of horror to patricians and people alike.”
Filippo Calendario, Venecia, C14th Venecia/Justice sitting on a throne flanked by 2 lions, 2 vanquished foes at her feet- wrath and pride, Scroll declares her victorious over the furies, Furies also suggest civil discord and military threat by their clothing, Ruler of the Adriatic. Notice that this Justice only carries a sword, no scales NB: Calendario was executed for treason after the failure of Doge Faliero’s attempt at being Lord of Venice April 1355. He was hanged from the balcony of the palace.
Patricia Fortini Brown Painting and History in renaissance Venice, Art History, Vol. 7 No. 3, September 1984
* Three artworks appear on the roof by Palma il Giovane, Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese * They should be read as a continuum; conquering provinces -> voluntary allegiance-> thanksgiving for the blessing of V rule * AKA Sala del Maggior Consiglio
Palma il Giovane, The Triumph of Venice Seated figure of V supported by Roma. There is a hidden lions face in the red banner.
Tintoretto, The Voluntary submission of the Provinces to Venetian Dominion V and lion present Doge Nicolo da Ponte with palm and laurel= victory and honour Members of the Collegio and Ducal cabinet surround the Doge The provinces are shown scrambling up the stairs
Paolo Veronese, The Assumption of the Virgin Juno crowned by Victory, surrounded by the embodiments of; Peace, Abundance, Fame, Happiness, Honour, Security, the Graces and Liberty
Paintings were not only to inspire good and honourable deeds amongst the patricians that sat in the halls and walked the corridors… They acted as documentation to verify that the event took place! C13th Martin da Canal (chronicler) and C15 Sanudo (diarist) both justify their claims by saying that is how it was depicted in the art: “and if some of you wish to verify that those things happened just as I told you, come and see the beautiful church of San Marco in Venice, and look at it right in front, because this story is written there just as I have told it to you.”(Canal, in reference to the translatio) “It was also painted in our Grand Council Hall; which if it had not been true, our good Venetians would have never have had it painted.” (Sanudo, in reference to the Trionfi cycle 1474 painted to replace the aged and damaged ones in the hall) “It was a likely time for a restatement of those civic ideals that were so clearly and eloquently expressed in the images and text of the Alexander legend.” (Fortini Brown) Muir- V govn seems to be the most successful in Italy at adapting art for political purpose.
Some key dates of the C15th: 1404- Vincenza, Verona and Padua submitted to V 1409- V purchases Dalmatia for 100,000 ducats 1423- Doge Foscari is elected and drives further expansion onto the terraferma 1446- League of Milan, Florence, Bologna and Cremona fought against further terraferma gains 1453- Fall of Constantinople 1454- Peace of Lodi, confirmed terraferma gains to the Adda river 1457- Foscari is forced to abdicate
Francesco Bassano, Consignment of the Sword to the Doge, Great Council Hall, 1590-1600 This is just one (of perhaps 4, lost to time and fire) interpretation of the Trionfi.
* As St Mark defers to Christ, the lion defers to the Doge * A winged lion would often symbolise V * It was often used a sign of V domination * Predestination became an C13th add on to the Myth of St Mark-> that he was told by the Archangel Gabriel that he would find “peace” in the marshes * This was a justification of them stealing the body from Alexandria 828AD -> known as the translation * He usurped the position of St Theodore as the patron saint of V, who was Greek in origin * St M was the V alternative to the Roman St Peter -> especially in times of conflict with the Pope * Gave “independent legitimacy” (Rosand) for the emerging state
* League of Cambrai declared war on V December 1508 to stop their ‘thirst for domination’ on the terrafirma * V suffered a major loss at the Battle of Agnadello May 14 1509 which saw V pushed back to the lagoon * Did recover much of the lost back by 1518 but that was through diplomatic luck that military prowess * Palma’s Allegory of the League of Cambrai 1593 painted in the Hall of the Senate- depicts Doge Loredan, Venetia (armed), the Lion, Peace and Abundance attacking the Papal Bull and the League (shown through the shield) * V decides to change its role from aggressor to peace bringer of Europe
* Another aspect of St Mark’s story was apparitio or his miracles performed after his death * 1094- Doge Vitale Falier (Faliero) led the city in 3 days of prayer to recover the lost relics of the St -> they put him somewhere safe during rebuilding and couldn't remember where. * On the 3 rd day a piece of stone fell forward revealing the relics in a pillar * He also saved the slave of Provence-> broke the tools of torture the master wanted to use of the slave for disobeying and going on pilgrimage to V * February 23 1341- fisherman taking refuge from a great storm was approached by 3 strangers: St Mark, George and Nicholas. They demand to be ferried to San Giorgio Maggiore. They ended the storm and saved V. Mark gave a ring to the fisherman who then presents the ring to the Doge. * All of these stories and more are depicted in artwork * His relics became a symbol of V piety and his miracles confirmed his protection over V * Titian’s earliest masterpiece before 1510 showed St M with Sts Cosmas, Damian, Roch and Sebastian. In attempt to protect V from the Plague
* V limited political participation to the Patricians * Scoula and guilds provided an opportunity for the cittadini to participate in civic life * There was one scoula grandi for each sestieri * They became heavily involved in the beautification of V through: art, architecture and processions * An example of this is the Procession of the True Cross commissioned by the Scoula Grandi di San Giovanni painted by Bellini * The procession depicted takes place before the Doge’s procession. This particular one takes place 25 April 1444 (St Mark’s feast day)-> visiting merchant from Brescia approaches the cross and begs for intervention with his ill son. Cross performs the miracle.
* Naturally from its name and association was the most important of confraternities * Scoula were competitive and therefore it was important for San Marco to be lead the charge in regards to artwork and architecture * Founded in 1261, but when its quarters were destroyed by fire in 1458 the State contributed to its rebuilding -> the honour of the name needed to be protected and reinforced * When it was rebuilt it mimicked the domes and arches of the Church of St Mark and was decorated with a lion on the top * “Maintaining pictorial tradition was essential for maintaining the Myths of Venice” (Rosand) which is why they avoided innovative design until the time of Sansovino * Gentile Bellini was on the board (banca) of the Scoula
* It took nearly 100 years for the Scoula to completely decorate the 2 main halls of their building * One was Tintoretto’s The Rescue (Stealing) of the Body of St Mark along with other paintings of St Mark’s miracles * Confraternities were to empower and control the cittadini * Sansovino “a certain type of civil government, in which as in a republic of their own, the citizens enjoy rank and honour according to their merits and qualities.” * The Scoula represented a microcosm of the patrician state In The Rescue… the location reflects the Piazza San Marco looking towards the church of San Germiniano Also seems to show Sansovino’s library and Procurators wing But then includes the otherworldly camel Many V would have easily decoded the symbols despite the factual inaccuracies
* The spatial arrangement of the Piazza San Marco with the joining between the Doge’s palace and church of St Mark “continued to manifest the unity of religion and state in the Republic” (Rosand) * For Sansovino it “seemed appropriate… that justice should embrace peace.” * The Porta della Carta by Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon(last year’s image of assessment in the exam) was constructed 1438-42 under Doge Francesco Foscari and bridged the space between the palace and the church. * Although the Senate were known to reject projects, like Sansovino’s façade for the Church San Germiniano because it included the likeness of an individual donor, an exception was made for Doges. Foscari is feature kneeling before the lion * Justice is enthroned on the top and the figures of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and Charity were included on the sides
* According to Muir, Venice followed 2 policies in regards to the consolidation of the image/symbolism of St Mark * 1 st cover the basilica and other major monuments with symbols/booty taken from areas that have come under V control or a power they have replace -Genoese pillars and platform that had been taken from a previously Genoa colony -Bronze horses -St Demetrius relief, and more 2 nd Encouraging religious orders, like the Dominicans who “revised the hagiographical (biography) tradition of St M to show that since apostolic time V had been destined to be not just a shrine for the relics of St M but also his seat of authority.” (Muir)
* Carved into the corner of the Doge’s palace is the Judgement of Solomon-Venice is justice and the Doge’s palace is comparable to Solomon’s * Solomon was also known as the King of Peace * Above that carving is the Archangel Gabriel- connection with the Annunciation and the Peace of St Mark * The corner closest to the sea has the Archangel Raphael with an inscription calling for the sea to be calmed * Don’t forget the roundel of Venecia calming the furies-> this was located on the façade overlooking the piazetta and sometimes place of execution and trade fairs
* Jacopo Sansovino was a Florentine artist who was living in Rome and fled to V after the Sack of Rome 1527 * He was hired as protomagister to the Procuratori di San Marco and operated as chief architect * He introduced monumental classicism- mainly seen in the Loggetta 1536 and the Libreria di San Marco 1537
* Important in transforming the space from a crowded commercial space to a civic space worthy of La Serenissima * Needed to complement the Ducal palace, Porta della Carta and the Giant Staircase which could be viewed looking from the Loggetta through the PdC * 3 marbel reliefs on the top display the terrafirma and sea territories and include: Venice/Justice, Jupiter on Crete and Venus on Cyprus * 4 statues in niches: Minerva= wisdom (longevity of the Rep), Mercury= eloquence, merchants and diplomacy, Apollo= music (social harmony) and Peace representing the Republic and also the peace offered to St Mark
* Cardinal Bessarion donated/bequeathed his library to V in 1468 * It was about 1000 works ½ in Greek * He did so because of the “justice”, “wisdom” and “morality” (amongst other glowing traits) that V had shown * Created a need for a glorious library, a place a learning for all young patricians to become wise leaders. * Earlier Petrarch had offered to donate his also but the deal fell through * Inspired other donations such as the Grimani collection in 1591. * The library became a symbol of V’s virtue * Titian was commissioned to paint the ceiling with a central figure that has been identified as History or Wisdom
* 25 March 421 also belongs to the Goddess of Love, Venus. * She was added during the Cinquecento as apart of the deliberate application of Classical visual language- after the fires of 1574 and ‘77 * “As her power waned Venice proclaimed herself defender of Italian freedom.” (Rosand) * Art and architecture became grander- led by Sansovino * Sansovino crowned the Giant’s Staircase with Mars and Neptune in 1566, the original staircase was built in 1485-95. * Mars= land and war-> reinforcing the idea of an empire * Classical gods and goddess’ appear on the 3 flag posts (used to fly the banner of St Mark naturally) in the Piazza. Mars, Mercury and Minerva with nods to Peace, Abundance and Justice. These were easily identified by Piero Contarini in 1541 * Sanudo noted a parade of mythological/allegorical individuals in 1532 through the Piazza
Originally commissioned by Doge Marco Barbarigo (1485) and completed by his brother who succeeded him. Seen as an example of a Doge trying to promote himself/family. Depicted coats of arms of enemy cities that had been defeated by Agostino. Agostino apparently had people knell in his presence. The giants were added, perhaps, to dwarf the Doge as he said his promissone- a reminder of his place.
* The Olympians mainly featured on the ceilings; increasingly from 1530 following the Peace of Bologna under the influence of Doge Andrea Gritti * Co10 had a depiction of Jupiter cleansing the heavens of crimes dealt with by the council; Heresy, Rebellion, Sodomy and Counterfeiting * Co10 also had Veronese’s Juno showering Gifts on Venice the gifts were wealth, dominion and peace * During Doge Sebastiano Venier’s election 1577 an orator drew comparisons between Venice and Venus * Veronese’s decoration of the Sala del Collegio after fire in 1574 composed of three panels all with clear messages and symbols: 1. triumphant in battle to 2. diplomatically imperial to 3.Olympian and beloved
Religion and Faith Triumph of the Christian faith, promising eternal protection to Venice
Venice Enthroned with Justice and Peace Venice received homage from Justice and Peace
Mars and Neptune Mars- military power but not wilful violence rather war that brings peace
Finlay, R., Politics in Renaissance Venice, New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press,1980 Fortini Brown, P., Painting and History in renaissance Venice, Art History, Vol. 7 No. 3, September 1984 Goy, R., Venice: The City and its Architecture, London: Phaidon, 1997 Hay, D and Law, J., Italy in the Age of the Renaissance, Longman, New York, 1989 Lane, F., Venice: A Maritime Empire, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1973 Muir, E., Image of Power: Art and Pagentry in Renaissance Venice, American Historical Review, Vol. 84 No. 1, February 1979 Rosand, D., Myths of Venice: The figuration of a state, University of North Carolina Press, 2001 VCAA, Study Design, January 2013