Depicting the city, depicting the state : fifteenth-century representations of Venice and the Venetian terraferma
Title: Depicting the city, depicting the state : fifteenth-century representations of Venice and the Venetian terraferma
Author: TOFFOLO, Sandra
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This thesis addresses the construction of ideas concerning the identities of geographical spaces, focusing on Venice in the period 1381-1509. It concentrates on the representations of two different roles held in this period by Venice: that of a city in a circumscribed urban setting, and that of the capital of an emerging state on the Italian mainland. Employing a corpus that consists mainly of geographical descriptions but that also includes cases of art and ceremonies, the dissertation closely analyses how fifteenth-century representations of Venice and the Venetian Terraferma were constructed, how they were transformed over time, and how these processes can be explained through the links with the various contexts in which the representations came into being. The thesis underlines, more than is currently the case in historiography, the multiplicity and transformability of simultaneously existing images of Venice. It analyses the large variety of factors to which contemporaries reacted when they created their geographical representations. Rather than merely following a centuries-old tradition of images of Venice (a tradition which in historiography has been called the ‘myth of Venice’), or rather than simply mirroring the institutionalised characteristics of the Venetian state, contemporaries took into account a multitude of contexts when constructing and transforming their representations. This is clearly shown by the very existence of different, sometimes even contradictory images of Venice and its mainland state in the fifteenth century. Taking into account the multiplicity of representations also explains that images of Venice in its role as city on the one hand, and as capital of a mainland state on the other hand, did not have to be in conflict, but that they could exist alongside each other, and that the processes by which they were created could impact upon one another.
LC Subject Heading: Art and geography -- Italy -- Venice -- History; Venice (Italy) -- In art; Self-perception -- Italy -- Venice -- History -- 15th century; Venice (Italy) -- History -- 15th century
Examining Board: Professor Luca Molà, EUI (Supervisor) Professor Antonella Romano, EUI Professor Filippo de Vivo, Birkbeck, University of London Professor Deborah Howard, University of Cambridge; Defence date: 5 December 2013
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