Artibus et Historiae no. 26 (XIII)

1992, ISSN 0391-9064

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DEBRA PINCUS - Venice and the Two Romes: Byzantium and Rome as a Double Heritage in Venetian Cultural Politics

Modern scholars have stressed Venice's artistic and cultural ties to Byzantium, as represented by the imitation and appropriation of Byzantine works - a process that appears to have been at its height in the thirteenth century. Or, alternatively, scholars have emphasized Venice's connection to the West, to ideas of ancient lineage and classical antique style as inspired by Rome - a process generally seen as coming to the fore in the fifteenth century. This article sets out to trace the coexistence of both traditions.

Though awareness of this dual heritage developed already in the early thirteenth century, it was in the following century, with the expanasion onto the mainland, that it was consciously cultivated in order to give Venice a distinct identity setting it apart from other Italian city-states. The key figure was the scholar-doge Andrea Dandolo (1343-54), who used San Marco to express artistic statements that would project the East-West message. By the time of the sixteenth-century theorists, such as Gasparo Contarini, the concept was firmly rooted in the Venetian vision.

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