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articles on Venice

Welcome to the Venicescapes Reading Room where you’ll find a growing number of articles specific to Venice’s individual monuments and works of art. Rich with historical details that explain how political, economic, artistic, social, and religious forces all came together to create each work, these articles give you the opportunity to fully understand and appreciate the city during your visit or simply enjoy discovering and learning more about Venice from the comfort of home.



The Statue of Francesco Maria I della Rovere
and the Loss of Venetian Exceptionalism

by Dial Parrott
Author of
"The Genius of Venice"

In 1601, Venice completed a new prison building just east of the Ducal Palace, which allowed state prisoners to be transferred out of their ground-floor cells built into the Palace courtyard itself.  Having transferred this unsightly function to more specialized quarters, the Republic soon initiated a major project to reconstruct and embellish parts of the vacated enclosure.  This included dismantling a large fifteenth-century staircase erected along the northern face of the courtyard and covering the exposed wall with a lavish assortment of Renaissance arches, panels, columns, piers, pinnacles and niches, all in marble and Istrian stone.  The government also installed a larger-than-life-size marble statue in front of this luxuriant stone backdrop.  Carved in the round atop a ten-foot pedestal, the person represented is shown in the pose and armor of a Roman emperor.  There is nothing else like it, not only in the Palace courtyard, but anywhere else in Saint Mark’s Square, and the reason for this is simple.  The statue is a blatant violation of one of the city’s oldest artistic prohibitions read more



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