Week 9 Painters, guilds & trade in Venice
March 4 2013
Vittore Carpaccio, Arrival of the English Ambassadors, from the cycle for the Scuola
of St. Ursula, ca. 1495, Venice, Accademia
Scuole=devotional confraternities. Scuola of St. Ursula; Legend of St. Ursula from the
Golden Legend by Jacopo da Varagine. Sacra rappresentazione=liturgical drama.
-During period in which Venice full of great artists late Bellini georgone & titian his career
overlaid with careers of outstanding artists. Alternative to sensual style georgoni and titian
developed and achieved. His alternative style is descriptive/eye witness style cuz he was
mainly interested in rendering Venetian arch. In his own tendencies the life of venetian ppl
framed w/in Venetian settings. Mainly worked for scuola in Venice confraternity of … small
confraternities had there own sites were ppl gathered to pray and do other … works of art
served purpose of display statues and importance of confraternity and to assist members in
there devotional works. Each confraternity was dedicated to a specific saint and a scuola of
St. Ursula was a British virgin in the last decade of 15 cent. Scuola of St. Ursula decided to
have oratory painted by Carpaccio. Full story abt female saint by Carpaccio who painted 9
canvases. Works are now in the academia museum in Venice don’t know how originally
distributed. The way Carpaccio rendered the religious subject is she was the doctor of an
English king and a young Christian girl who was suppose to marry pagan prince she agreed
under 3 conditions 1.he had to be converted to Christianity 2.she was allowed to visit Rome
to go on pilgrimage 3.she had to be accompanied to her pilgrimage in Rome by 11thousand
gurrs. Legend recounted in golden legend. Golden legend served as a platform for which he
based his paintings on. The cycle begins with English ambassadors since she was an English
Christian girl. Behind the narrative within Venetian architecture. Carpaccio used 3 diff
sources based his own rendering w monuments either on existing venetian monuments but
also used books abt the pilgrimage in new land and he also used the sacred
representacione –theatrical plays organized and set in Venice by several members of the
Scuole. Scene is divided up in three diff registers. Beginning from the right to the left.
Meeting btw Ursula and her father discussing within there own palace and outside is the
nurse waiting for her. The central scene is arrival of ambassadors of the prince meeting
with guys from British court. Setting staged in Venetian setting. Caravaggio was an artist
who never adapted but totally transformed and enriches his architecture not to make Week 9 Painters, guilds & trade in Venice
recognizable and easy to identify. On the right is meeting within open-air laga with
ambassadors. Inside outside in a public square and on the right in open-air loga and in the
background we can recognize the lagoon and boat clear Venetian setting.
Both paintings by Carpaccio
Proposing comparison. First one three scenes paintings w Venetian background.
Carpaccio, Return of the Ambassadors, 1497, Venice, Accademia
Second meeting of the return of the ambassadors is instead staged in open air. Open loga
on the right in which all protagonists standing and seated dressed in Venetian
contemporary costumes there is also a beautiful… staged within a Venetian setting. To
downplay… Entire setting is an emacronism? Wanted to have there own city and
architecture painted in the back of these scenes.
Fra Carnevale, The Ideal City, ca. 1480-84, Baltimore, Walters Art Museum
Carpaccio used multiple sources to reinvent his architecture there are particularities that
allow us to recognize the Venetian setting, which is prescribed w/in city of Venice. Week 9 Painters, guilds & trade in Venice
Architecture themselves is diff to recognize don’t correspond to printed or existing
buildings. Tradition of the ideal city relates to filivetti-dealing w notion of ideal city in
Milan? Power of architecture not people. Painted space fully occupied by buildings. What
we recognize at center is roman arch on the left is recreation of coliseum ancient roman
buildings. Recreation of baptistery in Florence on the right no an ancient roman building it
was medieval but in renaissance believed baptistery raised on a roman foundation.
Translated into his own painting broader discourse popular in Italy at the time both in
written terms with filliarti’s treaties and then in visual terms with these paintings.
Rectangular had nothing to do with custodian but with idealization of architecture, which
are abt symmetric and perfect buildings. Had nothing to do with architecture in terms of
contrasting a building ex stones but instead as an entity. Sequences of classical orders etc.
idealization of architecture had to do with plans and design not so much labor itself.
Carpaccio, Meeting of Ursula and the prince, 1497, Venice, Accademia
At the center the seated youth has been identified as the son of Nicolo’ Loredan who
probably commissioned the painting/series from Carpaccio therefore he is inscribed w/in
the canvas. Loredan was one of the most prominent members of Scuola. Organized in two
zones on the left architecture in background British architecture castles where Ursula came
from and then on the right meeting on ambassadors took place in Venice.
Carpaccio, Dream of St Ursula, from the Cycle for
Scuola di Sant' Orsola, ca. 1495, Venice,
Square painting. What we see is actually a bedroom.
Translated reality of Venetian bedroom at the time
with furniture window glasses etc. Ursula visited by
angel on the right. Detail of monkey instead here is a
little dog, which is a symbol of fidelity. Venetian ppl
and setting in terms of architecture but also Venetian
rooms & furniture. All dressed in contemporary
Venetian costumes. Week 9 Painters, guilds & trade in Venice
Venetian artist, Reception of an Ambassador in
Damascus, ca. 1511, Paris, Louvre
Eyewitness style. Venice imp commercial city.
Center of trades and in which early on in Italy there
was also an encounter w other civilizations. Oriental
& near eastern civilizations. Prominent encounters.
Eyewitness of life in renaissance Venice. Enigmatic
work of art depicting meeting takes place btw
western civilization w near eastern citizens characterized by there costumes and turbans
and also by possibly diff features. Exotic architectures, Carpaccio was never there so he
probably only knew abt this near eastern cities from printed books. Transformed images
into something new he stresses imagination. Carpaccio & other Venetian artists offer us
descriptive style rendered with imagination and fantasia. Recreate other
world/civilization. Mediterranean world was expanding Columbus had discovered new
land and other ppl going to China. Idea of Europe and Mediterranean world was expanding
and so encounters with other civilizations and early Christianity was real it was happening
he was translating encounters/global Venice was at the center of.
Gentile Bellini, St. Mark
preaching in Alexandria,
ca. 1504-7, Milan, Brera
He was part of a family of
artists. Rendering religious
subject w/in a setting that is
oriental. Could have been
city of Alexandria in Egypt.
Looking closer at
Egyptian architecture is