From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
City and port in Italy known for its canals.
Cinema and Venice in popular culture and media
Venice has been the setting or chosen location of numerous films, novels, poems and other cultural references. The city was a particularly popular setting for novels, essays, and other works of fictional or non-fictional literature. Examples of these include Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Othello, Ben Jonson's Volpone, Voltaire's Candide, Casanova's autobiographical History of My Life, Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven, and Philippe Sollers' Watteau in Venice. Thomas Mann's 1912 novella, Death in Venice, has served as the basis for an opera (Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice), a film (Visconti's Death in Venice) and a cocktail (Death in Venice). The city has also been a setting for numerous other films, including three entries in the James Bond series: From Russia with Love, Moonraker and Casino Royale, and many others such as: 2010's The Tourist, Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn, Fellini's Casanova, Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, The Wings of the Dove, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, A Little Romance, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The city has also been the setting for music videos such as Siouxsie and the Banshees' Dear Prudence and Madonna's Like a Virgin, as well as in the video games Tomb Raider II and Assassin's Creed II.
Venice has a rich and diverse architectural style, the most famous of which is the Gothic style. Venetian Gothic architecture is a term given to a Venetian building style combining use of the Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine, Ottoman and a lot of Phoenician architecture influences. The style originated in 14th-century Venice, where the confluence of Byzantine style from Constantinople met Arab influence from Moorish Spain. Chief examples of the style are the Doge's Palace and the Ca' d'Oro in the city. The city also has several Renaissance and Baroque buildings, including the Ca' Pesaro and the Ca' Rezzonico.
Music and the performing arts
The city of Venice in Italy has played an important role in the development of the music of Italy. The Venetian state – i.e., the medieval Maritime Republic of Venice – was often popularly called the "Republic of Music", and an anonymous Frenchman of the 17th century is said to have remarked that "In every home, someone is playing a musical instrument or singing. There is music everywhere."
During the 16th century, Venice became one of the most important musical centers of Europe, marked by a characteristic style of composition (the Venetian school) and the development of the Venetian polychoral style under composers such as Adrian Willaert, who worked at St Mark's Basilica. Venice was the early center of music printing; Ottaviano Petrucci began publishing music almost as soon as this technology was available, and his publishing enterprise helped to attract composers from all over Europe, especially from France and Flanders. By the end of the century, Venice was famous for the splendor of its music, as exemplified in the "colossal style" of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, which used multiple choruses and instrumental groups. Venice was also the home of many famous composers during the baroque period, such as Antonio Vivaldi, Ippolito Ciera, Giovanni Picchi, and Girolamo Dalla Casa, to name but a few.
It can be argued that Venice produced the best and most refined Rococo designs. At the time, Venice was in a state of trouble. It had lost most of its maritime power, was lagging behind its rivals in political importance, and society had become decadent, with nobles wasting their money in gambling and partying. But Venice remained Italy's fashion capital, and was a serious contender to Paris in terms of wealth, architecture, luxury, taste, sophistication, trade, decoration, style, and design. Venetian Rococo was well known for being rich and luxurious, with usually very extravagant designs. Unique Venetian furniture, such as the divani da portego, or long Rococo couches and pozzetti, objects meant to be placed against the wall. Venetian bedrooms were usually sumptuous and grand, with rich damask, velvet, and silk drapery and curtains, a beautifully carved Rococo beds with statues of putti, flowers and angels. Venice was especially famous for its beautiful girandole mirrors, which remained among, if not, the finest in Europe. Chandeliers were usually very colourful, using Murano glass to make them look more vibrant and stand out from others, and precious stones and materials from abroad were used, since Venice still held a vast trade empire. Lacquer was very common, and many items of furniture were covered with it, the most famous being lacca povera (poor lacuqer), in which allegories and images of social life were painted. Lacquerwork and Chinoiserie were particularly common in bureau cabinets.
Fashion and shopping
In the 14th century, many young Venetian men began wearing tight-fitting multicoloured hose, the designs on which indicated the Compagnie della Calza ("Trouser Club") to which they belonged. The Venetian Senate passed sumptuary laws, but these merely resulted in changes in fashion in order to circumvent the law. Dull garments were worn over colourful ones, which then were cut to show the hidden colours resulting in the wide spread of men's "slashed" fashions in the 15th century.
Today, Venice is also a major fashion and shopping centre in Italy, not as important as Milan, Florence, or Rome, but par to Turin, Vicenza, Naples, and Genoa. Roberta di Camerino is the only major Italian fashion brand to be based out of Venice. Founded in 1945, it is renowned for its innovative handbags featuring hardware by Venetian artisans and often covered in locally woven velvet, and has been credited with creating the concept of the easily recognisable status bag. Many of the fashion boutiques and jewelry shops in the city are located in the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco. At the current time, there are Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna flagship stores operating in the city.
Venetian cuisine is characterized by seafood, but also includes garden products from the islands of the lagoon, rice from the mainland, game, and polenta. Venice combines local traditions with influences that are distant from millennial business contacts. These include sarde in saor, sardines marinated in order to preserve them for long voyages; risi e bisi, rice, peas and ham; fegato alla veneziana, Venetian-style liver; risotto with cuttlefish, blackened from the ink; cicchetti, refined and delicious tidbits (akin to tapas); antipasti, appetizers; and prosecco, an effervescent, mildly sweet wine.
In addition, Venice is famous for bisàto (marinated eel), for the golden, oval-shaped cookies called baicoli, and for different types of sweets such as: pan del pescatore (bread of the fisherman); cookies with almonds and pistachio nuts; cookies with fried Venetian cream or the bussolai (butter biscuits and shortbread made in the shape of an "S" or ring) from the island of Burano; the crostoli also known as the chatter, lies, or galani; the fregolotta (a crumbly cake with almonds); milk pudding called rosada; and cookies of yellow semolina called zaléti.
Venice has long been a source of inspiration for authors, poets and playwrights as well as being at the forefront of the technical developing of printing and publishing.
Two of the most famous Venetian writers were Marco Polo in the Middle Ages and later Giacomo Casanova. Polo (1254–1324) was a merchant who voyaged to the Orient. His series of books, co-written by Rustichello da Pisa, titled Il Milione provided important knowledge of the lands east of Europe, from the Middle East, to China, Japan and Russia. Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) was a prolific writer and famous adventurer best remembered for his autobiography, Histoire De Ma Vie (Story of My Life), which links his colourful lifestyle to the city of Venice.
Venice has also inspired writers from abroad. Shakespeare set Othello and The Merchant of Venice in the city. Thomas Mann wrote the novel Death in Venice, published in 1912. Venice inspired the poetry of Ezra Pound, who wrote his first literary work in the city. Pound died in 1972 and his remains are buried in Venice's cemetery island of San Michele. The French writer Philippe Sollers spent most of his life in Venice and published A Dictionary For Lovers Of Venice in 2004. Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827) born in Zante, an island that at the time belonged to the Republic of Venice, was also a famous poet and revolutionary who wanted to see a free republic established in Venice following the fall to Napoleon. The city features prominently in Henry James' The Wings of the Dove and is also visited in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited and Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.
Venice is also linked to the technological aspects of writing. The city was the location for one of Italy's earliest printing presses, established by Aldus Manutius (1449–1515). From this beginning Venice developed as an important typographic center and even as late as the 18th century was responsible for printing half of Italy's published books.
Art and printing
Venice, especially during the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, was a major centre of art and developed a unique style known as the Venetian School. In the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, Venice, along with Florence and Rome, became one of the most important centres of art in Europe, and numerous wealthy Venetians became patrons of the arts. Venice at the time was a rich and prosperous Maritime Republic, which controlled a vast sea and trade empire.
By the end of the 15th century, Venice had become the European capital of printing, being one of the first cities in Italy (after Subiaco and Rome) to have a printing press after those established in Germany, having 417 printers by 1500. The most important printing office was the Aldine Press of Aldus Manutius, which in 1499 printed the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, considered the most beautiful book of the Renaissance, and established modern punctuation, the page format and italic type, and the first printed work of Aristotle.
In the 16th century Venetian painting was developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of the van Eyck brothers. It is signified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour. Early masters where the Bellini and Vivarini families, followed by Giorgione and Titian, then Tintoretto and Veronese. In the early 16th century, also, there was rivalry between whether Venetian painting should use disegno or colorito.
Canvases (the common painting surface) originated in Venice during the early Renaissance. These early canvases were generally rough.
Venice is famous for its ornate glass-work, known as Venetian glass. It is world-renowned for being colourful, elaborate, and skilfully made.
Many of the important characteristics of these objects had been developed by the 13th century. Toward the end of that century, the center of the Venetian glass industry moved to Murano.
Byzantine craftsmen played an important role in the development of Venetian glass, an art form for which the city is well-known. When Constantinople was sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, some fleeing artisans came to Venice. This happened again when the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453, supplying Venice with still more glassworkers. By the 16th century, Venetian artisans had gained even greater control over the color and transparency of their glass, and had mastered a variety of decorative techniques.
Despite efforts to keep Venetian glassmaking techniques within Venice, they became known elsewhere, and Venetian-style glassware was produced in other Italian cities and other countries of Europe.
Some of the most important brands of glass in the world today are still produced in the historical glass factories on Murano. They are: Venini, Barovier & Toso, Pauly, Millevetri, Seguso. Barovier & Toso is considered one of the 100 oldest companies in the world, formed in 1295.
One of the most renowned types of Venetian glasses are made in Murano, known as Murano glass, which has been a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano for centuries. Located off the shore of Venice, Italy, Murano was a commercial port as far back as the 7th century. By the 10th century it had become a well-known city of trade. Today Murano remains a destination for tourists and art and jewellery lovers alike.
The Venice Biennale is one of the most important events in the arts calendar. During 1893 headed by the mayor of Venice, Riccardo Selvatico, the Venetian City Council passed a resolution on 19 April to set up an Esposizione biennale artistica nazionale (biennial exhibition of Italian art), to be inaugurated on 22 April 1895. Following the outbreak of hostilities during the Second World War, the activities of the Biennale were interrupted in September 1942, but resumed in 1948.
The Festa del Redentore is held in mid July. It began as a feast to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of 1576. A bridge of barges is built connecting Giudecca to the rest of Venice, and fireworks play an important role.
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals and is part of the Venice Biennale.
For people from Venice, see People from Venice. Others closely associated with the city include:
- Enrico Dandolo (c. 1107, 1205), Doge of Venice from 1192 to his death. He played a direct role in the Sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.
- Marco Polo (15 September 1254 - 8 January 1324), trader and explorer, one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China. While a prisoner in Genoa, he dictated in the tale of his travels known as Il Milione (The Travels of Marco Polo).
- Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430-1516), a Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of painters.
- Aldus Manutius (1449-1515), one of the most important printers in history.
- Pietro Bembo (20 May 1470 - 18 January 1547), cardinal and scholar.
- Lorenzo Lotto (c.1480 - Loreto, 1556), painter, draughtsman, and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian school.
- Sebastian Cabot (c. 1484 – 1557, or soon after), explorer.
- Pellegrino Ernetti, Catholic priest and exorcist
- Titian (c. 1488-90 – 27 August 1576), leader of the 16th century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance (he was born in Pieve di Cadore).
- Sebastiano Venier, (c. 1496 - 3 March 1578), Doge of Venice from 11 June 1577 to 1578.
- Andrea Gabrieli (c.1510–1586), Italian composer and organist at San Marco di Venezia
- Tintoretto (1518 - 31 May 1594), probably the last great painter of Italian Renaissance.
- Veronica Franco (1546-1591), poet and courtesan during the Renaissance
- Giovanni Gabrieli (between 1554 and 1557–1612), composer and organist at San Marco di Venezia
- Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), composer and director of music at San Marco
- Leon Modena (1571-1648) preacher, author, poet, active in the Venetian ghetto and beyond
- Marco Antonio Bragadin (d.1571), general, flayed alive by the Turks after a fierce resistance during the siege of Famagusta
- Baldassare Longhena (1598 - 18 February 1682), one of the greatest exponents of Baroque architecture.
- Tomaso Albinoni (8 June 1671 - 17 January 1751), a baroque composer
- Rosalba Carriera (7 October 1675 – 15 April 1757), known for her pastel works.
- Antonio Vivaldi (4 March 1678, 28 July (or 27), 1741, Vienna), famous composer and violinist of the Baroque Era
- Pietro Guarneri (14 April 1695 - 7 April 1762) left Cremona in 1718, settled in Venice. "Peter of Venice" from the family of great luthiers.
- Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (5 March 1696 - 27 March 1770), the last "Grand Manner" fresco painter from the Venetian Republic.
- Canaletto (28 October 1697 - 19 April 1768), famous for his landscapes or vedute of Venice, but not only.
- Carlo Goldoni (25 February 1707 - 6 February 1793). Along with Pirandello, Goldoni is probably the most famous name in Italian theatre, in his country and abroad.
- Carlo Gozzi (13 December 1720 – 4 April 1806), an excellent dramatist of 18th century.
- Giacomo Casanova (1725 - 1798), in Dux, Bohemia, (now Duchcov, Czech Republic), a famous Venetian adventurer, writer and womanizer.
- Virgilio Ranzato (7 May 1883 – 20 April 1937), Composer.
- Carlo Scarpa (2 June 1906 - 1978, Sendai, Japan), an architect with a profound understanding of materials.
- Emilio Vedova (9 August 1919 - 25 October 2006), one of the most important modern painters of Italy
- Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (5 June 1646 - 26 July 1684), the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate degree.
- Bruno Maderna (21 April 1920 - 13 November 1973), an Italian-German orchestra director and 20th century music composer.
- Luigi Nono (29 January 1924 - 8 May 1990), a leading composer of instrumental and electronic music.
- Ludovico de luigi (November 1933), Venetian Surrealistic artist.
- Giuseppe Sinopoli (2 November 1946 – 20 April 2001), conductor and composer.
- Romano Scarpa (27 September 1927, Venice - 23 April 2005, Málaga), was one of the most famous Italian creators of Disney comics.