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Venice, print, and the early modern icon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2006

BRONWEN WILSON
Affiliation:
Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2TS, Canada

Abstract

Venetian printmakers in the sixteenth century were enthusiastic participants in what became a project of civic self-promotion as they looked beyond the local market to an international one. In response to the fascination of foreigners who marvelled at the city's singular topography and its reputation for liberty and licentiousness, the bird's-eye view and images of local social types – such as the doge and courtesan – became transmuted into icons of the city's urban identity. The medium and modes of representation used to reproduce the republic's social and physical organization on paper are crucial here, for it was the repetition and sedimentation of visual conventions that forged iconicity. Venice was redefined as a centre in which all the world could be seen. And the mechanisms for this redefinition, as this article argues, emerged, in part, out of print, for it was because the city could be seen from the eye of a bird, on paper as an image, by foreigners – that it could be re-envisioned from the outside in.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 Cambridge University Press

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Supplementary material: File

Urban Icons

This package contains the source files for one of the Urban History multimedia companions created to accompany special issue Urban History volume 33, issue 1, by Philip J. Ethington & Vanessa R. Schwartz (eds.), and originally hosted as an online resource by Cambridge University Press. These files contain multimedia content in a now deprecated format, Adobe Flash. Please note that links to third party resources will be retained here in the original form provided by the compilers of the multimedia companions. The Press does not warrant that links from archival entries will continue to function correctly and does not undertake to redirect or suppress links when third party sites cease to be available

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