How were artists in Renaissance Venice viewed by their contemporaries? Was there a specifically Venetian theory of art in the Renaissance and Early Modern periods? How did architects from the Veneto change the course of European architecture through their writings rather than their buildings?
The option is one of two core options that MA students take in the Autumn term, whilst based in Venice. While the other core option focuses on urban spaces, art objects and patronage, this module examines Venetian art theory and historiography, developing students’ ability to place the works of art and architecture they encounter in Venice within contemporary critical frameworks. The focus will be on primary sources, including key texts by Pietro Aretino, Marco Boschini Ludovico Dolce, Andrea Palladio, Carlo Ridolfi Francesco Sansovino and Sebastiano Serlio. We will also examine central Italian writers who developed negative interpretations of Venetian art, principally Giorgio Vasari.
Students will be encouraged to present texts for critical analysis and discussion. You will engage with Cinquecento discussions of art such as the pivotal colorito/disegno debate. You will also consider the historic and subsequent reception of artists, and the formation of the Venetian artistic and architectural canon. The module's emphasis on primary sources is reflected in two dedicated sessions on research skills and Venetian archives, which will serve as a primer in conducting original research in Venice.
Sample Syllabus (Subject to change):
Conducting Effective Research in Venice
Workshop in the Venetian State Archives
Giorgio Vasari and the Florentine Perspective
Francesco Sansovino and early ‘guidebooks’ to Venice
Architectural Treatises I: Sebastiano Serlio
Architectural Treatises II: Andrea Palladio and Vincenzo Scamozzi
Pino, Aretino and Dolce: The Venetian Defence
Carlo Ridolfi: The Lives in Venetian Dialect
Marco Boschini: Navigating Venetian Art