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The influence of Ducal ceremony on church design in Venice

  • Andrew Hopkins

Extract

It seems a straightforward assertion that the function of a building ought to dictate its design, and that a church commissioned to accommodate liturgical and ceremonial activity would be designed to do so in the most convenient way possible. Historically the difficulty has always been to locate contemporary evidence which demonstrates just how a building was used, and to relate this convincingly to specific aspects of its design. In the case of Venice, a principal source of knowledge about ceremony comes from the extant ceremonial books of the Republic which describe, among other things, how particular buildings were used by various individuals and groups who needed to move through them and to be accommodated in them during feast-day celebrations. This information, analyzed in relation to the churches themselves, offers evidence that in several cases Ducal ceremony influenced their design.

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1. The fundamental treatment of the influence of liturgy upon ecclesiastical architecture in the Byzantine context is by Mathews, Thomas, The early churches of Constantinople: architecture and liturgy (University Park & London, 1971), esp. pp. 142-47. See also Idem, ‘Architecture: liturgical aspects’, Dictionary of the Middle Ages (New York, 1982), 1, pp. 441-45. For the Roman context see De Blaauw, Sible, Cultus et Decor: liturgia e architettura nella Roma tardoantica e medievale, 2 vols. (Vatican City, 1994).

2. Archivio di Stato di Venezia (hereafter ASV), Collegio Ceremoniale, registers 1-3. The various members of the Venetian government are set out in Finlay, Robert, Politics in Renaissance Venice (London, 1980), pp. xvxvii . For related contributions in the field see Trexler, Richard, The Libro Ceremoniale of the Florentine Republic (Geneva, 1978).

3. The first Ceremonial of S. Marco is published: Betto, Bianca, Il Capitolo della basilica di S. Marco in Venezia: statuti e consuetudini dei primi decenni del sec. XIV (Padua, 1984). The second Ceremonial of S. Marco is held at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice (hereafter BMV), ms. Lat. Cl. III, 172 (= 2276), and is partially published: Cattin, Giulio, Musica e liturgia a San Marco 3 vols., (Venice, 1990–92). The third Ceremonial of S. Marco remains unpublished. The manuscript copy referred to here is held at BMV, ms. It. CI. VII, 396 (= 7423). For the history of the various copies of this manuscript see Moore, James, ‘Bartolomeo Bonifacio’s Rituum Ecclesiasticorum Ceremoniale: continuity of tradition in the Ceremonial of St. Mark’s Venice’, in La musique et le rite sacré et profane, 2 vols. (Strasbourg, 1986), 11, pp. 365408 . The earlier ceremonial books have been discussed by Sinding-Larsen, Staale, ‘A walk with Otto Demus. The mosaics of San Marco, Venice, and art-historical analysis’, Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia, Series Altera, VIII, 1992, pp. 145205 .

4. The copy referred to here is held at BMV, ms. It. CI. VII, 1639 (= 7540). Also discussed by Muir, Edward, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton, 1981),pp. 187 and n.11.

5. The best treatment of the Scuole is by Pullan, Brian, Rich and poor in Renaissance Venice. The social institutions of a Catholic State (Oxford, 1971). See also Pignatti, Terisio, Le scuole di Venezia (Milan, 1981). A study of ceremonial information contained in the mariegole would be a useful avenue of research as it could yield much important new material on their role and point of view about ceremonial. The staircases of the Scuole seem to be particularly well-adapted to ceremonial use, for which see Sohm, Philip, ‘The staircases of the Venetian Scuole Grandi and Mauro Codussi’, Architectura, VII, 1978, pp. 125-49.

6. Howard, Deborah, ‘Ritual space in Renaissance Venice’, Scroope, 5, 1993/94, pp. 411 .

7. Second Ceremonial of S. Marco, [1 April 1631], ‘tutto il Popolo, che in tanta multitudine era concorso, che non appariva vestigio, o timore alcuno di male, il cui numero era tanto più considerabile, quanto che non vi si vide Donna alcuna non potendo queste come già l’avisai per decretto Publico partirsi dalle loro Contiade.’ The role of women has not been studied in depth, but see Promano, Denis, ‘Gender and the urban geography of Renaissance Venice’, Journal of social history, XXIII, 1990, pp. 339–53.

8. Brown, Patricia Fortini, ‘Measured friendship, calculated pomp: the ceremonial welcomes of the Venetian Republic’, in ‘All the world’s a stage …’: Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque, 2 vols., Wisch, Barbara & Munshower, Susan eds., (University Park, 1990), pp. 136-86. For the Dogaressa see Molmenti, Pompeo, La Dogaressa di Venezia (Venice, 1884).

9. Sansovino quoted in translation in Chambers, David & Pullan, Brian eds., Venice: a documentary history 1450-1630 (Oxford, 1992), p. 50 . Andate Ducali can usefully be compared with stational masses in Rome and Constantinople whose liturgy has been defined: ‘Stational liturgy is a service of worship at a designated church, shrine, or public place in or near a city or town, on a designated feast, fast, or commemoration, which is presided over by the bishop or his representative and intended as the local church’s main liturgical celebration of the day’, Baldovin, John, The urban character of Christian worship: the origins, development, and meaning of stational liturgy (Rome, 1987), pp. 37 , 105–66 & 197-202. The earliest significant treatment of ducal ceremony and liturgy was by Fasoli, Gina, ‘Liturgia e ceremoniale ducale’, in Venezia e il Levante fino al secolo XV, 2 vols., ed. Pertusi, Agostino, (Florence, 1973), 1, pp. 261-95.

10. This is the hypothesis presented in Hopkins, Andrew, ‘Architecture and Infirmitas: Doge Andrea Gritti and the chancel of S. Marco, Venice’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, LVII, June 1998 .

11. This plan was first mentioned by Boucher, Bruce, ‘Jacopo Sansovino and the Choir of St Mark’s’, Burlington Magazine, CXVIII, 1976, pp. 552-66.

12. Collegio Ceremoniale 2, fol. 42V, (Funeral of Dogaressa Marcello, 1572, in SS. Giovanni e Paolo), ‘furono in chiesa de S. Zuanne e Paulo … et la Serenissima Signoria fu redutta in coro, sedendo nelle sedie a man dritta, insieme con li Signori Ambasciatori et il resto del Senato, dall’altra banda sederono tutti li corociosi.’

13. Collegio Ceremoniale 2, fol. 131r, (Funeral in Santo Stefano, 20 May 1595), ‘Smontate le scale si entrò per la porta picciola in Chiesa di S. Marco, et tutti si posero à sederci con l’ordine predetto sù le ordinarie banche nel choro … Gionto a S. Stefano … Si acconciò Sua Serenità coll’Eccellentissimo Senato nel choro di essa chiesa.’

14. Giovanni Stringa’s additions to Francesco Sansovino’s, Venetia Città Nobilissima, et Singolare (Venice, 1604), fol. 35r, ‘Ne giorni, che’l Prencipe in Chiesa non discende, il predetto coro, ov’egli [the Doge] siede con la Signoria, che è il primo chiamato, serve per H Canonici, Sottocanonici, & altri Preti di Chiesa; ma quando vi è il Prencipe vanno a seder da’lati dell’ Aitar grande.’

15. Cooper, Tracy, The history and decoration of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, [Ph.D. diss], (Ann Arbor, 1991), pp. 102-19. For the original function of these choirs in the Roman context see DeBenedictis, Elaine, The ‘Schola Cantorum’ in Rome during the high middle ages, [Ph.D. diss], (Ann Arbor, 1984), pp. 5253 & 149-50.

16. The ceremonial use of S. Giorgio Maggiore was discussed briefly by Murray, Peter, ‘Palladio’s Churches’, in Arte in Europa: scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Edoardo Arslan, Milan, 1966, pp. 597–608 , although my hypothesis differs from his.

17. The controversy surrounding Palladio’s involvement in the design of the retrochoir will not be entered into here. See Cooper (as in n. 15), pp. 102-19, and Cooper, Tracy, ‘Locus meditandi et orandi: architecture, liturgy and identity at San Giorgio Maggiore’, in Musica, scienza e idee nella Serenissima durante il seicento, eds. Passadore, F. and Rossi, F. (Venice, 1996), pp. 79105 . Winkelmes, Mary-Ann, ‘Form and reform: illuminated Cassinese Reform-style churches in Renaissance Italy’, Annali di Architettura, 8, 1996, pp. 6184 .

18. Howard, Deborah, Jacopo Sansovino: architecture and patronage in Renaissance Venice, 2nd rev. ed., (New Haven and London, 1987), pp. 7274 . Foscari, Antonio & Tafuri, Manfredo, L’armonia e i conflitti: la chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna nella Venezia del’500, (Turin, 1983). The retrochoir of S. Giobbe was only built circa 1607. See Matteo Ceriana, ‘Due esercizi di lettura: la capella Moro in San Giobbe e le fabbriche dei Gussoni a Venezia’, Annali di Architettura, 4-5, 1992-93, p. 23.

19. DeBenedictis (as in n. 15), pp. 149–50. Blunt, Anthony, ‘The Council of Trent and religious art’, Artistic theory in Italy 1400–1600 (Oxford, 1940), pp. 103-36, esp. 126-32. See also Voelker, Evelyn, Charles Borromeo’s Instructiones Fabrice et Suppelectilis Ecclesiasticø 1577. A translation with commentary and analysis , [Ph.D. diss.], (Ann Arbor, 1977).

20. Cooper (as in n. 15), pp. 102-19. For Florentine comparanda see Hall, Marcia, Renovation and Counter-Reformation: Vasari and Duke Cosimo in Sta Maria Novella and Sta Croce 1565-1577, (Oxford, 1979).

21. Doge’s ceremonial, fols. 29v-3or, ‘Il giorno di Santo Stefano … si va ad udir messa a San Zorzi … il Padre Abbate con comitiva d’altri Padri processionalmente vengono ad incontrar Sua Serenità, et darli la pace, essendosi anco appresso li Signori Oratori, l’Illustrissimo Nontio prima, et poi dette alcune Orationi l’accompagnano in chiesa, dove Sua Serenità va subito alla sua sedia, et ivi vicino sono quelli delli Illustrissimi Oratori, et doppo quelli delli Magistrati, et quelli che portano la spada presso il Cancellier Grande. Nel dar la pace, che fanno li Padri à Sua Serenità, il Serenissimo li da offerta un Cechin d’oro, et nel fin della messa l’Illustrissimo Nontio dà la benedittione, e nel partir si va a tuor la perdonanza all’Altar di Santo Steffano, et poi si monta nelle Piatte’.

22. Timofiewitsch, Wladimir, The Chiesa del Redentore, (Corpus Palladianum 3), (University Park & London, 1971).

23. Doge’s ceremonial, fols. 22v-23r, ‘La terza Domenica di Luglio Sua Serenità con la sudetta compagnia, et tutto il Pregadi va alla chiesa del Redentor con tutti li Trionfi et vi ode messa picciola, poi ritorna à Palazzo … Si apparecchia la sedia di Sua Serenità dalla parte destra vicino al coro, con li Oratori vicini … Nota che si ritorna in chiesa di San Marco et si sta sino che passano tutte le scole, et chieresie con solenne processione per ringratiar Dio delle ricevute gratie.’ Ackerman, James, ‘Observations on Renaissance church planning in Venice and Florence, 1470-1570’, in Florence and Venice: Comparisons and Relations, 2 vols., (Florence, 1979-80), 11, pp. 303-04.

24. The connexion between the Redentore and the Salute has been stressed recently by Niero, Antonio, ‘I templi del Redentore e della Salute: motivazioni teologiche’, in Venezia e la Peste 1348–1797, (Venice, 1979), pp. 294–98. Hopkins, Andrew, ‘Plans and planning for S. Maria della Salute’, Art Bulletin, LXXIX, September 1997, pp. 440–65. An exemplar of the first state of Marco Boschini’s engraving is held at the Statens Museum For Kunst, Copenhagen. See Merling, Mitchell, Marco Boschini’s La carta del navegar pitoresco: art theory and virtuoso culture in seventeenth-century Venice , [Ph.D. diss.], (Ann Arbor, 1992), pp. 4144 & 348-49.

25. Second Ceremonial of S. Marco, fol. 511, ‘ogni anno si fa la processione alla nove chiesa della Salute et ivi dice la Messa bassa presente la serenissima Signoria’.

26. Giustinian Martinioni’s additions to Sansovino, Francesco, Venetia Città Nobilissima et Singolare (Venice, 1663), p. 525 , ‘và ogn’anno in tal giorno il Doge con H Oratori de Prencipi, & Signoria à visitar essa Chiesa, ne i piatti, come è solito farsi nell’altre andate solenni; andandovi dopo il ritorno di sua Serenità in San Marco, anco le Scuole grandi, le Religioni, & Clero di Venetia’.

27. Third Ceremonial of S. Marco, fol. 93, ‘Dice Messa bassa un de Padri, e li Canonici Capellani Regij danno a bacciar l’Evangelo, e la pace come osserva nel collegio sensa incenso. In questa chiesa si dimostra la B.V. fatta per mano di San Luca venuta da Candía l’anno 1670, assistono alle ceremonie Diacono, e suddiacono della Ducale. Finita la Messa un Canonico intona le Litanie, et si ritorna à San Marco processionalmente, ove canta Messa un Canonico etc. Fra questo mentre passano le schole, fiatarle, e chieresie, et passando il Capitolio di Castello’.

28. ASV, Senato Terra Filza 326, fol. 12r-v, ‘li saranno poi tra la nave grande di essa chiesa et esse capelle sito per potersi andar attorno attorno con le processioni del tempo delle feste principali senza impedimento delli popoli si attroverà nel mezo di essa Chiesa’, published in Gemin, Massimo, La chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute e la cabala di Paolo Sarpi, (Abano Terme, 1982), p. 224 .

29. For S. Zaccaria see McAndrew, John, Venetian architecture of the early renaissance, (Cambridge, Mass. & London, 1980), pp. 2437 & 268–281. The importance of the ambulatory for processional purposes was first pointed out in the important article by Dellwing, Herbert, ‘Die Kirche San Zaccaria in Venedig: eine ikonologische studie’, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, XXXVI, 1974, pp. 224-34.

30. Davies, Paul, ‘The Madonna delle Carceri in Prato and Itahan renaissance pilgrimage architecture’, Architedural History, 36, 1993, pp. 118 , here 13-14.

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