Essays

By Elizabeth Aldrich

The Cornaro family was one of the most wealthy and influential renaissance Venetian families.  In around 1300 the Cornaro’s began to make a name for themselves as merchants.  Frederico Cornaro and his brothers created a family partnership to profit from the growing business in trade between Cyprus and Venice (Lane, 1973, p. 138).  This meant that one brother would take up...

By Elizabeth Aldrich

           During the Renaissance period in Venice, the city was prosperous and successful in part due to their extensive trade with different parts of the world.  Trade relationships with many different parts of the world meant that foreigners, especially merchants, were constantly moving in and out of Venice or creating permanent residences there.  The...

By Elizabeth Aldrich

Renaissance Venice was a city built on a lagoon surrounded by water which led to the construction of an impressive naval fleet.  When it came to war on land however, they had to hire armies to fight for them.  In December 1508, Venetians caught word of the formation of the League of Cambrai that was formed in order to halt Venetian expansion further into Northern Italy (LSW,...

By Elizabeth Aldrich

Paolo Veronese’s “The Last Supper” also known as “The Feast in the House of Levi” is a large Venetian Renaissance painting, created in 1573, that is currently housed at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.  Veronese is known as one of the great Venetian renaissance artists alongside Titian and Tintoretto, and was known for his large scale paintings...

By Jacqueline Sovie

The myth of Venice embodied the idea of Aristole’s two agoras.  The free agora was kept clear of merchandise.  It was a space for matters of public interest to be discussed.  In Venice, the free agora was the Piazza San Marco and Broglio.  The agora of merchandise was designated for commercial activities.  This was the space where matters of private interest could...

By Elizabeth Aldrich

Renaissance Venetians were very proud of their seemingly harmonious and just state.  Venetians believed that their mixed government made up of a monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy made for a well-working government and society (CP, 2001, p. 41).  The monarchy, or single rule is represented by the doge, the aristocracy or rule of the elite class is represented by our Senate,...

By Jacqueline Sovie

 Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), a Venetian Artist, remains well-known for his artwork during Venice’s Renaissance period.  He is recognized for his rich and coloristic style of painting.  Giovanni Bellini’s work influenced many other Renaissance painters.  It is even said that his work revolutionized Venetian art (Giovanni Bellini, n.d.). In 1506 the prominent...

By Jacqueline Sovie

San Francesco della Vigna is a church built in the sestiere of Castello (San Francesco della Vigna, n.d.).  The earliest development of the land that the church stands on was a vineyard, giving the church its “della vigna” distinction.  In 1253 Macro Ziani donated the land for a monastery to be built, because the vineyard was believed to be the location of the angel’s...

By Jacqueline Sovie

The Avogadori di Comun were the “watch dogs” of the Venetian city-state.  The magistracy played an integral role in the Venetian judicial system during the Renaissance period.  The chronicler Marin Sanudo wrote that “they are obliged to ensure that all the laws and resolutions adopted are observed” (in CP, 1515/1992, p. 53).  Without the watchful eye of...
 Columns of St. Mark and St. Theodore

By Adilson Gonzalez05/23/2016 If well, the Venice was a splendid Republic, its shine was sometimes marred by acts that went against the values and morals instigated since its foundation. For these crimes there were punishment that intended to clean the stains brought by these people to Venice. Many criminals were sentenced to life imprisonment and the worst of them would receive death as a...

By Adilson Gonzalez5/22/2016As a governmental institution, the Great Council helped to demonstrate the superiority of Venice’s Constitution. Through the Great Council, those who did not count with position in the government had a chance to participate in the decision making process of the state (Kraye, 1451/1997, p. 130). The Great Council, therefore represents some of the elements that the...

By Elizabeth Aldrich

The torre dell’Orologio is a clock tower in the Piazza San Marco that is situated on the Merceria, a street that joined the political and business sectors within Renaissance Venice.  Work on the clock tower began in 1493 with a decree from the Venetian Senate to replace a pre-existing structure that was over a century old and becoming decrepit (LSW, 2007, p. 470).  In the...

By Jacqueline Sovie

The Bell Tower, or Campinale, located in the Piazza San Macro towers over the city of Venice at nearly 100 meters tall.  The faces of the great belfry were adorned with the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice, Lady Justice (St Mark‘s Campanile, n.d.).  The combination of the bell tower’s glorious façade and great height makes for a marvelous sight. ...

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016The diaries of Marin Sanudo immortalize the public sphere of Venice at its prime when it was considered one of the largest cities in the world, often referred to as “the most triumphant city” and “a power to be reckoned with throughout Europe and the Near East” (in LSW, 1514/2008, p.xxv) Written in vernacular, the Venetian dialect, all fifty-eight volumes of...

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016Miracle near the Rialto Bridge or Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto is a painting by Vittorio Carpaccio dating back to 1494. It depicts the healing of a mentally ill man through the touch of the True Cross or The Holy Cross, which was believed to possess miraculous powers. In the painting the cross is held by the Patriarch of Grado...
Main entrance to the arsenal, known as the Porta Magna, featuring two two lions that were taken from Greece and situated in 1687

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016Known for its naval power, Venice’s most valuable wealth was its government funded and owned shipyard called the Arsenal. In Inferno, Dante compared the “crowded part of hell where sinners boiled in pitch to the workplace of the Arsenal’s caulkers and other employees” (in LSW, 1993, p. 244). Diarist and chronicler Marin Sanudo described the Arsenal as “...
Mausoleum of the Mocenigo Family

By Adilson Gonzalez                05/22/2016Santi Giovanni e Paolo, a church located in the sestieri of Castello, is most famous for serving as the Doges’ mausoleum towards the end of the fifth-teen century (CP, 1992, p. 198). In 1480, the splendors of Santi Giovanni e Paolo were highly criticized by Felix...

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016In the Venetian mixed constitution system that was based on the writings of classical Greek and roman antiquities, the Council of Ten represented an exclusive group of officials—elected through democracy—who made decisions serving the security of the state. This exclusive group included the Doge, his six councilors and ten elected members. The elected membership consisted...

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a building, located in the Grand Canal and by the Rialto Bridge, which served as the warehouse and residences of German (and northern European) merchants in Venice. Originally constructed in 1228 by the Venetian government, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi served as means to restrict and confine the movement and activities of foreign merchants in Venice. For...

...

Ponte delle Tette in the Sestier of San Paolo

By Adilson Gonzalez05/22/2016Although the myth tells us Venice was a perfect city, there were also those whose life styles did not fit the religious values and morals under which the Venetians were supposed to live. Ponte delle Tette or “bridge of the tits,” a bridge where prostitutes would be encouraged to stand topless in order to convert suspected homosexuals, is a reminder of...
Facade of Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

 By Adilson Gonzalez05/22/2016As the Milanese ambassador in Venice, Battista Sfondrato, reported to the Duke of Milan on march of 1497, the Scuole Grandi, as charitable institutions, played a very important role in the lives of the Venetians. “The best thing that Venice has, then, are four famous Scuole Grandi belonging to Confraternities” (in CP, 1497/1992, p. 299). Among these...

By Samiya Haque

May 22, 2016The Procuratie, meaning ‘procuracies’, are three connected buildings located on St. Mark’s Square, that were built to house the oldest serving six of the nine procurators of Venice. The remaining recently elected three procurators lived in their own houses and received 60 ducats as rent. The procurators belonged to noble patrician lineage and were bestowed...
This is a view of the outside of Venice's great library

By Josie Brown5/22/16            The creation of St. Marks Library in Venice was only possible because Cardinal Bessarion gifted the Venetian state his extensive and impressive private collection of books in the year 1468. In 1468 Bessarion wrote to the Venetian government that the aim of collecting books had, “always occupied my whole mind”, it was...
A statue of Antonio Grimani, the powerful patriarch of the Grimani family clan

 Josie Brown5/22/16         The life of Antonio Grimani was one of extreme political highs and lows.  He was a wealthy merchant who used his wealth and influence to attempt to gain political power, with mixed, yet ultimately positive results. He served as a powerful Venetian Captain General, then was a condemned as despised political exile and finally he had a...

            St. Ursula was a confraternity was founded in the year 1300 with thirty-five members that included both males and females. It was sponsored by the Dominicans and attached to the SS. Giovanni e Paolo. It had a small and rectangular meeting hall with an altar at the east end, which was dedicated to SS. Dominic, Peter Martyr and...

By Hallie Young5/22/2016The Scuole Grandi in Venice were confraternities founded as charitable and religious organizations for laity as early as the 13th century. There were five in all, including the Carita, Misericordia, San Giovanni, San Marco, and San Rocco, and each had its own symbols to distinguish it from the others.  Each scuole had 700 members,...

 By Hallie Young5/22/2016In the years 1528 and 1585, there were incidents of abuse in the convent of San Zaccaria. The incident in 1528 involved misconduct of the nuns’ servants. According to a letter of the Patriarch Hieronimo Querini to the abbess of San Zaccaria on March 12, 1528, the problem was with four servants, referred to as “bawds,” who were misbehaving (CP, 1992...

By Hallie Young5/22/2016Beginning in the year 1499, several family banks in Venice were faced with the imminent threat of failure due to high-risk business they participated in. The Garzoni Bank, founded in 1430, was the oldest among the Venetian family banks (LSW, 2008, p. 235). In early 1499, the bank began experiencing financial difficulties. The government tried to conceal these banking...

By Hallie Young5/22/2016            The Collegio, which acted as the steering committe of the Senate, had twenty-six members, including the ten-member Signoria and the sixteen-member Consulta. The Signoria consisted of the doge, the councilors, and the three heads of the judiciary. The Consulta was comprised of six councilors, five...
This image is a view of the Broglio from the Basilica Di San Marco. The Broglio was used as a site to deal with political matters. The two columns in the distance are where the public executions of non-nobles took place.

By Hallie Young5/22/2016           The Broglio is an area by the San Marco Square surrounded by three buildings where political matters were hashed out. On March 2, 1510, the Great Council met regarding Messer Angelo Trevisan, who was a commander in the naval expedition against Ferrara and had been defeated in 1509 during the battle of Polesella. Prior to this...
The Tempest

 By Josie Brown5/22/16           The Tempest was painted by Giorgione of Casrelfraneo for Venetian nobleman Gabriele Vendramin around the year 1503.  An element of the painting that is incredibly interesting is that what the painting is actually depicting is an unclear and contested issue and the symbolic meaning of the painting has been vastly and...
A picture of the painting that depicts King Henry the III's arrival

 By Josie Brown5/22/16             These passages deal with the Architectural grandeur present in Venice, as well as the soft power that Venice exerted through their artwork.  The temporary architecture that the Venetian state produced for the Reception of Henry the III King of France to their city is a perfect example of how Venice used art...
A modern gondola carrying passengers across an old pathway,

 By Josie Brown5/22/16           This passage deals with the Atre guild of the Boatmen of San Toma.  This guild was part of a larger social system that allowed citizen class Venetians to feel as though they were participating in government meaningful way and that they had control over their fates. The fact that they were able to use their guild to establish...

 By Josie Brown                                                               ...
The Presentation of the Virgin

By Adilson Gonzalez 05/21/2016Tiziano Vecelli, or Titian (1488-1576), was perhaps the most influential painter of the Venetian School. Throughout his life he gave life to a number of beautiful pieces, among which stands out Presentation of the Virgin. This painting was a commission made by the Confraternity of St. Mary of Charity in 1534 to decorate one of the walls of the albergo, which...