Artibus et Historiae no. 71 (XXXVI)

2015, ISSN 0391-9064

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DANIEL SAVOY - Keeping the Myth Alive: Andrea Dandolo and the Preservation of Justice at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice (pp. 9-29)

This essay analyzes the façade of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, with a focus on its representation of Venetian political identity. It proposes that the main theme of the façade’s renowned figural sculpture – that the Venetian government was a divine and eternal agent of justice – was also expressed in the structure’s architectural design and execution. In this view, the divine permanence of Venetian justice was conveyed in the formal harmony of the exterior, which was achieved through a unified design as well as an unusual yet documented attempt to preserve that design for nearly a century after its inception. Archival, literary, and architectural evidence suggests a connection between the project and the mythographical doctrine of Doge Andrea Dandolo (1343–1354), who credited the ducal office with securing the divine immortality of the Venetian state through its relentless defence of justice. In preserving the exterior of the ducal palace, Dandolo and his successors sought to maintain the integrity of this governmental image, an approach that would later become common in the patronage of Venetian governmental buildings.

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