The Art of Renaissance Venice, Part I
Aneta Georgievska-Shine, professor of art history, University of Maryland
In the middle of the fifteenth century, Venice was the most powerful of the Italian city states, made rich by nearly a thousand years of commerce, especially with the East. Though the fortunes of La Serenissima (“the most Serene Republic”) began to decline soon thereafter, it remained one of the most vibrant artistic centers of the Renaissance. The works created by its painters were avidly collected throughout Europe, from the Netherlands to Spain. The reasons for this high esteem included several key characteristics identified by early collectors and other artists: the openness of Venetian painters to different subject matters and genres, their exceptional sensitivity to light and color, the richly luminous surfaces of their works resulting from the preference for oil as a medium, and their interpretive freedom – whether in representations of religious scenes or those drawn from classical antiquity. This series of five lectures explores those qualities and the ways in which they were expressed by artists ranging from Giovanni Bellini to Jacopo Tintoretto. This is the first lecture in a five-part series by Georgievska-Shine.
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