Venice Disputed


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Marc'Antonio Barbaro and Venetian Architecture, 1550-1600

Deborah Howard

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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 the public. Written by a leading authority on Venetian architecture, the book explores the complex dialectic between theory and practice; utopia and reality; and 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 orator, but his idealistic views about the rhetorical power of classicism frequently clashed with local technological expertise. Venice Disputed 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.

“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

"Howard's book is an interesting, beautifully illustrated, scholarly study, which throws much new light on Marc Antonio and the commissioning of architecture in Venice during his lifetime. Given the complexity of the Barbaro brothers, the book usefully opens the door for further study of their relationship with Vitruvius and the modern ways of building all'antica."—Vaughan Hart, European Architectural History Network

"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
ISBN: 9780300176858
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
320 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 1/4'
120 color + 120 b/w illus.
The Architectural History of Venice

Revised and enlarged edition

Deborah Howard; With new photographs by Sarah Quill and Deb

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Vittore Carpaccio

Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice

Peter Humfrey; With contributions by Andrea Bellieni, Linda

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