Venice Disputed Marc'Antonio Barbaro and Venetian Architecture, 1550-1600 Deborah Howard

Publication date:
15 Sep 2011
Yale University Press
320 pages: x 241mm
120 color + 120 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

In the councils and magistracies of the Venetian Republic, politicians argued intently over civic building projects in a manner curiously reminiscent of a modern democracy, taking advice from architects, engineers, and members of the public. Written by a leading authority on Venetian architecture, Venice Disputed explores the complex dialectic between theory and practice, between utopia and reality, and between design and technology that infused these disputes. The bitterly contested debates are seen through the experiences of one particular Venetian nobleman, Marc'Antonio Barbaro (1518-1595). Recognized as a gifted stuccoist and draftsman, Barbaro played a prominent role in the discussions about major state building projects such as Palladio's church of the Redentore, the restoration of the Doge's Palace, and the erection of the Rialto Bridge. He was a distinguished statesman and a renowned orator, but his idealistic views about the rhetorical power of classicism frequently clashed with local technological expertise.

This book recounts not only his public role but also his private life, centered on the now-famous family villa that he and his brother commissioned. Barbaro's compelling story thus weaves together politics, architectural history, and private life in early modern Venice.

Deborah Howard is professor of architectural history, University of Cambridge, and fellow of St John's College, Cambridge.

'This beautifully illustrated book provides the clearest and most complete account of the family, interests, patronage and travels of Marc’ Antonio Barbaro, one of the most celebrated promoters of Venetian cinquecento architecture.' Richard Schofield, Burlington Magazine

'Howard’s book displays a mastery of the field that will make it the standard account for generations. It is a landmark in the scholarship on Venice and the history of urban development.' Theodore K. Rabb, The Art Newspaper

'A fascinating book.' Context

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