Vittore Carpaccio. The Lion of St Mark, 1516. Palazzo Ducale, Venice


The Splendour of Renaissance Venice

  • Begins: Friday 4 November 2022
    Until: Friday 2 December 2022
    (11am-1pm NB: the session on 18 November is via ZOOM)
  • Lettsom House, First Floor, 11 Chandos Street, London W1G 9EB (NB: There is no lift in this building)
  • Lecturer: Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli

Venice is a unique city and its Renaissance followed its own distinctive trajectory. It embraced the new style later than other cities, such as Florence and Padua, and did so in its own Venetian idiom.

The course explores the art and architecture of Venice from the mid fifteenth to the late sixteenth century underpinned by an exploration of Venezianità: the things that set Venice apart and gave the city its identity. We will see the continued legacy of the city’s Byzantine past in the devotional paintings of Giovanni Bellini, the myriad turbaned figures in paintings and reliefs that speak of Venice’s contact with the Islamic world, while trade routes with the North gave Venetians access to the much-admired Flemish oil paintings. Even the approach to painting itself was unique. The hallmark of Venetian painting in the sixteenth century was colore as opposed to the Florentine disegno: sensual colour applied with greater spontaneity in application.

In addition to devotional paintings, we will immerse ourselves in the hustle and bustle of Carpaccio’s narratives and the pensive stillness of Titian and Giorgione’s pastoral idylls. Our investigation will incorporate the sometimes overlooked developments in Venetian sculpture including grandiose tombs, external reliefs, enigmatic portraits and majestic bronzes. We conclude with an ambitious programme of urban renewal that casts Venice as the New Rome while the paintings of Tintoretto are charged with the intense spirituality of the Counter Reformation.


  1. The Uniqueness of Venice
  2. Devotion and Spirituality
  3. Portraits and Poesie – This session is online
  4. Sculpture in the Serenissima
  5. Urban and Spiritual Reform


Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli is an independent art historian who teaches for the V&A Academy, The Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School and the National Gallery. Her publications focus on cultural and diplomatic exchange between the Italian city-states and the Ottomans. She has lived in Siena, Venice and Istanbul.

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