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Popular religion and Catholic reform

Seminar Tutor

Rosa Salzberg


Site Visit

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Seminar Questions

  • What were the most distinctive aspects of popular religion in Renaissance Venice?
  • Why was blasphemy considered so threatening in Renaissance Venice?
  • To what degree did reformist religious ideas penetrate the city in the sixteenth century?
  • Discuss the impact of the Inquisition in sixteenth-century Venice.
  • How did Catholic reform change Venetian culture?

Key Texts


Further Reading

  • Bizzocchi, Roberto, ‘Church, Religion, and State in the Early Modern Period’, The Journal of Modern History 67, Supplement: The Origins of the State in Italy, 1300-1600 (1995), S152-65. JSTOR
  • Black, C.F., Italian Confraternities in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989). War.
  • Bowd, Stephen D., Reform Before the Reformation: Vincenzo Querini and the Religious Renaissance in Italy (Leiden, 2002)
  • Cairns, Christopher, Domenico Bollani, Bishop of Brescia: Devotion to Church and State in the Republic of Venice in the Sixteenth Century (Nieuwkoop, 1976) War.
  • Chavasse, Ruth, ‘Latin Lay Piety and Vernacular Lay Piety in Word and Image: Venice, 1471-Early-1500s’, Renaissance Studies 10.3 (1996), 319–42.
  • Cocke, Richard, Paolo Veronese: Piety and Display in an Age of Religious Reform (Aldershot, 2001)
  • D'Andrea, David, 'Charity and Confraternities', in Dursteler (ed.), A Companion to Venetian History, 1400-1797 (Leiden, 2013), pp.421-48.
  • Davidson, Nicholas, ‘The Clergy of Venice in the Sixteenth Century’, Bulletin of the Society of Renaissance Studies 2 (1984), 19-31.
  • Delph, Ronald K., ‘From Venetian Visitor to Curial Humanist: The Development of Agostino Steuco's “Counter”-Reformation Thought’, Renaissance Quarterly 47.1 (1994), 102-39. JSTOR
  • Donnelly, J.P. and Michael Maher (eds), Confraternities & Catholic reform in Italy, France, & Spain (Kirksville, MO, 1999)
  • Fragnito, Gigliola, Gasparo Contarini: un magistrato veneziano al servizio della Christianità (Florence, 1988)
  • Gilbert, F., ‘Religion and Politics in the Thought of Gasparo Contarini’, in Action and Conviction In Early Modern Europe: Essays in Memory of E.H. Harbison (Princeton, 1969). War. (xerox)
  • Gleason, E., ‘On the nature of sixteenth-century Italian evangelism: scholarship 1953-78’, Sixteenth Century Journal 9.3 (1978), 3-26. JSTOR
  • Gleason, Elisabeth G., Gasparo Contarini: Venice, Rome, and Reform (Berkeley 1993)
  • Goffen, Rona, Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian, and the Franciscans (New Haven, 1986)
  • Grubb, James S., Provincial Families of the Renaissance: Private and Public Life in the Veneto (Baltimore, 1996)
  • Gullino, Giuseppe, (ed.), La Chiesa di Venezia tra Riforma protestante e Riforma cattolica (Venice, 1990) War.
  • Hudon, William V., ‘Religion and Society in Early Modern Italy - Old Questions, New Insights’, American Historical Review 101 (1996), 783-804. JSTOR
  • Humfrey, Peter, ‘Competitive Devotions: The Venetian Scuole Piccole as Donors of Altarpieces in the Years around 1500’, The Art Bulletin 70.3 (1988), 401-23. JSTOR
  • Humfrey, Peter, The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice (New Haven, 1993)
  • Logan, O., ‘The idea of the bishop and the Venetian patriciate, 1430-1630’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1978). War. (xerox)
  • Lowe, K.J.P, Nuns’ Chronicles and Convent Culture: Women and History Writing in Renaissance and Counter-Reformation Italy (Cambridge, 2003).
  • Mackenney, R., ‘Devotional confraternities in Renaissance Venice’, in W.J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds.), Voluntary Religion (Oxford, 1986). (Studies in Church History, 23). War.
  • MacKenney, Richard, ’The Scuole Piccole of Venice: Formations and Transformations’, in The Politics of Ritual Kinship: Confraternities and Social Order in Early Modern Italy, ed. by Nicholas Terpstra (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 172-189.
  • MacKenney, Richard, Venice as the polity of mercy: guilds, confraternities, and the social order, c. 1250-c. 1650 (Toronto, 2019), especially Chapters 5 and 6. E-book.
  • Martin, John Jeffries, ‘Out of the Shadow: Heretical and Catholic Women in Renaissance Venice’, Journal of Family History 10 (1985), 21-33.
  • Martin, John Jeffries, ‘Spiritual Journeys and the Fashioning of Religious Identity in Renaissance Venice’, Renaissance Studies 10.3 (1996), 358–70.
  • Martin, John Jeffries, Venice’s Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (Berkeley, 1993)
  • Martin, John Jeffries, 'Religion, renewal, and reform in the sixteenth century', in J. A. Marino (ed.), Early Modern Italy (Oxford, 2002), pp. 30-50.
  • Morse, Margaret A., ‘Creating sacred space: the religious visual culture of the Renaissance Venetian casa’, Renaissance Studies 21.2 (2007), 151–84. Blackwell
  • Peterson, David S., ‘Out of the Margins: Religion and the Church in Renaissance Italy’, Renaissance Quarterly 53 (2000), 835-79. JSTOR
  • Piasentini, Stefano, 'Indagine sulla bestemmia nel Venezia del Cinquecento', Studi storici 40 (1999), 471-549.
  • Pullan, Brian S., Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice: the Social Institutions of a Catholic State to 1620 . War.
  • Romano, Dennis, ‘Charity and Community in Early Renaissance Venice’, Journal of Urban History 11 (1984), 63-81.
  • Schutte, A., Pier Paolo Vergerio: The Making of an Italian Reformer (Geneva, 1977).
  • Schutte, A., 'Religion, spirituality and the post-Tridentine Church', in J. A. Marino (ed.), Early Modern Italy (Oxford, 2002), pp. 125-42.
  • Simoncelli, P., ‘Pietro Bembo e l’evangelismo italiano’, Critica Storica 15 (1978).
  • Trolese, F.G., (ed.) Riforma della Chiesa, cultura e spiritualità nel Quattrocento veneto (Cesena, 1984)
  • Viani, Giovanni, (ed.), La chiesa di Venezia tra medioevo ed età moderna (Venice, 1989) War.
  • Waddington, Raymond B., ‘Pietro Aretino, religious writer’, Renaissance Studies 20.3 (2006), 277–92. Blackwell

E-Resources