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Part II, Volume I 

< i 

)STl ME of a Venetian Gentlewoman. 
" The Mjrstit Nuj irina" 

• Church of 








Volume I 



Till: IM\IHH1\ PRESS, CAMimiDGE, U.S. A.. 


Chapter I 

The New Age — First Symptoms of Decay — 

Praise and Blame of the Republic . . i 

Chapter II 

The Constitution Political, Ecclesiastical, Judicial, 

Military, and Economic 18 

Chapter III 

The Conditions of Climate and of Public Health 

— The Embellishment and Transformation 

of the City — Horses and Gondolas . . 5o 

Chapter IV 

Festivals and Solemn Receptions — The Carnival 

— Popular Fetes — Hostelries and Taverns 73 

Chapter V 

Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting ... 97 

Chapter VI 

The Arts Applied to Industry 121 

Chapter VII 

The Private Life of Venetian Artists . . . i4q 



Chapter VIII 

The Scientific Movement — Occult Sciences and 
Vulgar Errors — Literature, Poetry, and 
Satire 2o4 

Chapter IX 

Schools in Venice, and the University of Padua 
— The Press, Libraries, Literary Coteries, 
and Academies 248 



Costume of a Venetian Gentlewoman — detail of Paolo Veronese's 
painting, " The Mystic Nuptials of Santa Gaterina." (Venice, 
Church of Santa Gaterina) Frontispiece 

Portrait of the Doge Leonardo Loredano, by Giambellino. (London, 

National Gallery) 6 

Triumph of Venice, by Paolo Veronese. (Ceiling of the Sala del 

Maggior Consiglio, Ducal Palace) 12 

An Audience of the Doge — miniature from the Codex Maggi in the 

Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris 18 

Procurator of S. Marco and Admiral of the Fleet — from the 

"Customs" of Franco 20 

The Lion's Mouth 32 

Senators — from a painting by Tintoretto, at the Academy ... 32 

The Pozzi 34 

The Bridge of Sighs 36 

The Piazza di S. Marco (i5oo) — from " Paesi Novamente Ritrovati " 

printed at Venice in 1617 by Zorzi de Rusconi 64 

Belfry of the Campanile of S. Marco (1 5 10) 66 

The Loggetta of Sansovino (c. i54o) 68 

Phantasy on the Gondola, by Tintoretto. (Gallery of Dresden) . 72 

A Carnival Scene — from the " Customs" of Franco 76 

Procession of the Doge — from the M Customs " of Franco ... 78 

The Arrival of Henry III in Venice. (A painting by Andrea Vicentino 

in the Hall of the Four Doors in the Ducal Palace) .... 88 

Gondolas — detail of Carpaccio's painting, •■ The Patriarch of Grado 

freeing a Demoniac." (Venice, Academy) 96 

Gate of the Arsenal 98 

Monument in Honour of Bartolomeo Colleoni 100 

The Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi 102 

The Giants' Staircase io4 



The Library of Sansovino 10C 

Statues by Sansovino in tbe Loggetta 108 

The Facade of the Church of S. Zaccaria (i457-i 5 1 5) .... 110 

The Madonna and the Child surrounded by SS. Giobbe, Giovanni 
Battista, Sebastiano, Francesco, and Ludovico. Altar decora- 
tion by Giovanni Bellini (i479?) for the Church of S. Giobbe. 
(Venice, Academy) 112 

The Madonna and SS. Liberale and Francesco — a painting by Zorzon 

da Castelfranco in the Cathedral of Castclfranco. (c. i5oo) . n4 
Sacred and Profane Love, by Titian (i5o8). (Borghese Gallery) . 11G 
The Miracle of S. Marco,by Tintoretto (i548). (Venice, Academy) 118 
The Presentation of the Child Jesus before Simeon — altar decora- 
tion by Carpaccio (i5io) for the Church of S. Giobbe. 

(Venice, Academy) 120 

Candelabrum of Alessandro Vittoria (Venice, Mnseo Civico) . . ia4 
Candelabrum of Andrea Baruzzi Salodiano. (Venice, Chiesa dclla 


Venetian Glasses (XVI century). (Palermo, Florio Collection) . i34 

Venetian Glasses (XVI century). (Palermo, Florio Collection) . i3(i 
Venetian Lace of the early XVI century — Drawn-work, (a lili tirati). 

(Florence, Ristori Collection) i38 

Venetian Lace of the late XVI century — Needle-point (punto a 

reticella). (Venice, Museo Civico) i4o 

Titian's Birthplace, at Pievc di Cadore i64 

Sebastian Cabot, aet. c. eighty years — portrait attributed to Holbein 218 

Paolo Sarpi — portrait attributed to Leandro Basaano. (Library of 

S. Marco) 218 

Pielro Aretino — portraits by Titian 2a4 

Facade of the University of Padua — from a late XVI century print 258 
Specimen of Venetian Typography and Xilography — a page from 

the " lhpnerotomachia " of Poliphilo. (Venice, Aldus, i4»)9) 272 

Aldus Manutius, the Elder, and Paulns Manutius 374 

Binding of the Grimani Breviary, by Alessandro Vittoria .... 280 




THE border line between the middle ages and modern 
times is marked by great events : the monarchies 
of Europe were secured upon the ruins of extinct 
feudalism ; the throne of Constantine was finally over- 
thrown ; the Ottoman power appears as a menace to 
Christendom ; the discovery of Columbus opens up new 
worlds ; the invention of Gutenberg discloses vaster 
horizons for the human intelligence. The period of 
strenuous acquisition is succeeded by the period of 
display ; on the early life of vigorous expansion follows 
the prime in all the splendour of its riches ; and that 
glorious new birth of the human intellect in philoso- 
phy, in letters, in the arts, which was in part begun in 
the previous age, now reaches its culmination. The 
Renaissance, touching its apogee, intensifies the cult 
of beauty, harmony, pleasure, but at the same time 
diverts the Italians from the serious aspects of life, and 
if it be not the main factor is, at all events, one of 
the contributing causes in the decay of character and 
of morals. The excessive and exclusive passion for the 
rediscovered culture of Greece and Rome destroyed all 
religious sentiment, and converted the people of Italy 
into the most sceptical of European races. That exag- 
gerated devotion to the antique which animated courts, 
palaces, and streets, weakened the spirit of patriotism. 

VOL. I. I 


The new learning, drawing its inspiration from classi- 
cal antiquity and overlaying all progressive speculation, 
distracted men's minds from the active life of the 
nation ; and so on the ruins of communal liberty arose 
the despots, and from the undefended Alpine barriers 
descended the foreigner athirst for plunder. 

Amid the countless revolutions of Italy, harried, en- 
slaved, torn, and spoiled by foreign arms, Venice alone 
continued to enjoy a glorious and vigorous independence 
and appeared in all the splendour of her pomp and pride. 
But beneath this dazzling exterior, even in Venice, — 
the most powerful and flourishing state in the pe- 
ninsula, — the germs of corruption gradually made 
themselves manifest. Trade and industry came to be 
despised by the patricians and were left to the people, 
morals degenerated, and the population, which in the 
first twenty years of the fifteenth century numbered 
190,000 souls, steadily declined. 1 It seemed as though 
Tomaso Mocenigo's prophecy was about to be fulfilled. 
The Doge on his death-bed, after lucidly expounding 
the riches and prosperity of the Republic, concluded by 
urging the Council to watch over the future of the State 
and to abstain from electing as Doge Francesco Foscari, 
a man of rash designs and steeped in dangerous modern 
ideas. Mocenigo's advice was not followed, and Fos- 
cari once on the ducal throne urged Venice forward to 
extend her dominions on the Italian terra ferma, and ex- 
hausted in that enterprise the accumulated wealth which 

1 Sanudo, Diari, VIII, 4i4, quotes a census of June i5, i5o(), which 
gives the population at over 3oo,ooo, exclusive of friars and nuns. This 
oannot be correct. The documents give us the following figures for the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: i^aa, 190,000; i5oo,, 110,000; i54o, 
i3i,ooo; i55a, 158,069; i555, 159,867; i563, 174,201 ; 1574, 195,863; 
i58i, i34,8oo; i586, 151,396; 1593, i55, 72a. Cfr. Beloch, La popolazione 
a" Italia nei sec. XVI, XVII, e XVIII (in the Bulletin de I'Institut international 
de statist ique, T. Ill, 1888, 1 livr.). — Id., Bevolkerungsgeschichte der Republic 
Venedig (in the Jahrb'ucher fur Nationalokonomie, Band XVIII, 1889). — 
La popolazione di Ven. nei sec. XVI e XVII (Nuovo Arch. Ven., nuova 
serie, An. II, T. Ill, p. 1)— Contento, // censimento sotto la Ft. Veneta. 
(Nuovo Arch. Ven., T. XIX and XX.) 


should have gone to the support of her sea power. By 
the close of the fifteenth century the Republic was 
engaged in wars with Ferrara, with Naples and Pisa, 
with the French and with the Turks, and was forced 
to heavy sacrifices in blood and money. Commercial 
prosperity, meanwhile, began to wane. After the fall 
of Constantinople in i453, "trade with that city all but 
ceased, though business with Syria and Egypt still re- 
mained active ; and as long as the sole route to the 
Indies lay through the Mediterranean with its adjuncts 
the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea, Venice was able 
to control a large part of the commerce between East 
and West, and could levy high dues on eastern goods 
passing through her ports for western Europe. But 
when the new sea routes were discovered to the Indies 
and to America, the competition of the Spanish, of the 
Portuguese, and later on of the English and Dutch, 
all of whom could ship direct from the East, brought 
about a decline in the commerce of Venice as well as 
of the Hanseatic towns. In Italy itself, besides the 
ancient rivalry of Genoa, Venice had to face the dan- 
gerous competition of Ancona and of Leghorn. When 
to all this were added the losses wrought by the Turks 
in Albania, the Archipelago, and finally in Cyprus, we 
may safely say that the sea was no longer faithful to 
her spouse, and the annual ceremony of the Sposallzio 
lent a sting and a point to the bitter satire of the 
French poet against the Venetians : 

" ces vieux coquz vont espouser la mer, 
Dont ils sont les maris et le Turc l'adultere." 1 

The change in the conditions of Europe could have 
dealt no deadlier blow to the Republic than to deprive 
her of her freedom of movement in foreign parts, 
— perdere la liber tade in fuori, as the diarist Priuli 

1 Joachim du Bellay, Les regrets, p. 8. Paris, 1876. The first edition 
of the Regrets is dated " Paris, i538." 


justly phrases it. 1 The government was aware of the 
danger and endeavoured to weather the storm. With 
an insistence that hardly concealed their anxiety, they 
called for detailed reports on the new discoveries, on 
the factories, the navigation, the trade, the conquests 
of the Portuguese in the Indies. 2 In i5oa the Great 
Council was alarmed at seeing Venetian shipping dimi- 
nuite et venule a meno che a pena se ne atrova sedici 
che per leze et ordeni nostri ponno condur sail. In 
this same year a commission (Giunta) was appointed, 
called the "spice commission" (delle spezierie), to 
come to terms with the Soldan of Egypt, and through 
him with the Moors, on the subject of the valuable trade 
in spices, and to filch it, if possible, from the Portu- 
guese. 3 The negotiations bore little fruit, for in i5o4 
we find Venetian merchants complaining of the im- 
poverishment of the market at Rialto, and that the 
galleys from Alexandria and Beyrut arrive vode senza 
collo di spetie, che mai pill da alcuno non era stato 
visto. 4 

In the same year, it being obvious that a more rapid 
route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean was 
an urgent necessity, the Venetians turned their atten- 
tion to cutting the Isthmus of Suez. They laid before 
the Soldan of Egypt a scheme whereby they proposed 
to make cum molta facilita e brevitd de tempo una cava 
dal mar rosso che metteva a drectura in questo mare de 
qua b ; but nothing came of it. 

In the year i5o6 the Ministry of Commerce, the 
Cinque Savi alia Mercanzia, was appointed to supervise 
the commerce of the State ; but the recommendations 

1 Fulin, Diari e diaristi veneti. Venezia, 1881. 

2 Id., DeWatlitudine di Ven. dinanzi ai grandi viaggi maritt. del sec. XV 
(AtUdeW Istit. Veneto, 1881). 

8 Id., // canale di Suez e la Rep. di Ven. (Arch. Ven., T. I, p. 175). 
4 Arch. Ven., T. XXII, pp. 173-174, the Diari of G. Priuli : I Porto- 
ghesi nelV India e i Veneziani in Egitto. 

6 Fulin, // canale di Suez, etc., cit. (Arch. Ven., T. I, p. 175). 


of this body, especially those relating to a reduc- 
tion of dues, were not accepted, and the principle 
of rigid protection and of monopolies was maintained. 
The law of i363 which forbade Venetian merchants 
to hire foreign ships for freight for the Levant, was 
no more protectionist in intent than the law of June 
27, 1598, which forbade foreign merchants to trade 
from the Levant to Venice. 

Gristoforo da Canale, in his Dialog hi di militia navale, 
had already sadly remarked that ' ' in former times 
the Republic, single-handed, had raised many powerful 
fleets, a thing she certainly could not do now (i53o,), 
although the population is both united and obedient, 
for at present they are so comfortable and well-to-do 
that nothing short of an imperious necessity would 
induce them to embark in a galley." Moreover the 
activity of the arsenal and the hard-working industry 
of the shipwrights, calkers, and oar-makers had fallen 
off towards the close of the century, and "all these 
hands were no longer of that sound quality they once 
were ; nay, if not all, yet at least the larger part are 
lazy, bad, and all but vicious." 1 

And yet the merchants of all nations who continued 
to flock to the lagoons, especially at the time of the 
famous Ascension Fair, the annual period of greatest 
commercial activity throughout Italy, were not aware 
of the slow decline of Venetian prosperity. India and 
the East still sent precious freights of gold, aromatic 
spices, and drugs ; the islands of the Archipelago their 
choicest products. Metal work came from German^ ; 
cloth and woollens from France ; silk, wool, and leather 
from Spain ; tapestries and cloth from Flanders ; rare 
furs from Poland and Russia. The ships of San 
Marco still bore cargoes of gold in bars, ingots, and 
specie, and, among other precious objects, even ancient 

1 Arch, di Stato, Relazioni, Collegio v. Secreta F. a 77. Relazione delV 
arsenate presented by Giovanni Priuli in 1691. 


codices, which, in those days of humanism, were a 
valuable article of trade. 1 

Meantime, while Leonardo Loredan was Doge, the 
League of Cambray, the severest trial to which the 
Republic was ever exposed, was formed with a view 
to attacking Venice. All historians relate at length how 
Venice stood alone against Europe banded together for 
her destruction ; how the Venetians, alarmed but not 
crushed by the defeat of their arms and the misfortunes 
of their country, held firm in its defence, until at last 
they rose again, thanks to the fact that they had never 
despaired of their country's safety. Those direful days 
are more vividly recalled in the passages from private 
memoirs than in the stately pages of historiographers. 
It is Sanudo who records in his Diaries that " tutti 
pianzeva " ; and Luigi da Porto of Vicenza, the engag- 
ing author of the novel Giulietta e Romeo, no timid 
friend of truth, tells us, not without a touch of ma- 
liciousness, how panic-stricken were the people of 
Venice. "A tante avversita," he writes, "non si sa 
per quanta urgenza fare alcun provvedimento ; si che 
questa citta si vede awilita, ed il governo pavido e 
smarrito. E gia alcuni nobili viniziani, abbraccian- 
domi e piangendo mi hanno detto : Porto mio, non 
sarete oggi mai piu de nostri. E volendo io render loro 
la solita riverenza, mi dissero ch'io nolfacessi, perciocche 
eravamo tutti conservi in una potestate et eguali ; poiche 
la fortuna gli aveva ridotti a tal punto, che piu non 
ardivano di stimarsi signori, ne piu chiamare il loro 
doge serenissimo. Alcuni altri, di maggior ordine 
ancora, si veggono con fronte priva di ogni baldanza 

1 Beccaria, Una pirateria e un inventario di stoffe veneziane del secolo XV 
(pub. per nozze ; Palermo, 1895). In 1^91 Francesco Vassallo, a Vene- 
tian, captain of a ship with a rich cargo, bound for Constantinople was 
captured and made prisoner in the Levant by the Biscayan buccarnrr 
Giovanni de Orlan. King Ferdinand of Naples caused the pirate to be 
pursued, and the Venetian prize was recovered and consigned to her owners 
with her cargo intact, after an inventory had been taken. 

Portrait of the Doge Leonardo Loredano, by 
Giambellino. (London, National Gallery) 


andare per la mesta citta con passo non continuato, ma 
oro frettoloso ora lento, ed abbracciando ora questo ora 
quello, far certe accoglienze sproporzionate, ed alcune 
blandizie alle genti, che non amore ma timore smisu- 
rato dimostrano. In fatti tutta Yenezia in dieci giorni 
e cambiata di aspetto, e di lieta e divenuta mestissima 
. . . molte donne hanno dimesso il loro superbo modo 
di vestire. ... E si poco sono a tali percosse usi li 
Viniziani che temono, non ch' altro, di perder anche 
Vinezia." 1 

The misfortunes of the war and its painful conse- 
quences are portrayed with even livelier directness in 
the letters which Martino Merlini, a Venetian merchant, 
wrote to his brother Giambattista at Bey rut, where the 
Merlini had an agency. 2 In his letter of June 23, 
1 509, Martino begins by deploring the League which 
was formed on December 10, i5o8, at Cambray by 
Louis XII of France, the Emperor Maximilian, Pope 
Julius II, Ferdinand of Spain, the Estensi, and the 
Gonzagas against the Republic. " Et avanti te diga 
altro fradelo carissimo," he says, " chomenzerb a dirte 
le poche parolle al modo se atrovamo perche e son 
zerto sarai desideroso de intender piui tosto le nuove 
hochorse cha fazende de merchadanti, che de quelle 
non se ne parla. Gome tu sai, per le ultime mie te 
scrissi che de qui se apparecchiava un aspra e crudel 
guera per una lega fatta, e non vojo dir liga ma 
cruziata, contra a questo povero stato, che mai per 
cristiani sea posuto unir et ligar contra turchi chani et 
infidelli una tal cruziata chome iano fato contra de noi 
poveri veneziani, che sempre siamo stadi, chome tutto 
el mondo sa, schudo e defensori dela jexia e de tuta la 

After describing the preparations for war, the defeat 

1 Da Porta, Lettere storiche, p. £3. Venezia, i83a. 

2 Dalla Santa, La lega di Cambrai e gli avvenimenti dell' anno 1509, 
descritti da un mercante Veneziano contemporaneo. Pub. per nozze. Venezia, 


of Ghiaradadda, or Agnadello, which led to the imme- 
diate surrender of most of the mainland cities to the 
French, the feeble and timid resistance of those cities, 
over which the storm cloud hung threatening, making 
them more ready to obey than to fight, Merlini con- 
tinues thus : 4k Dapoi la rota del chanpo che fo di i4 
marzo non se ha auto una bona nuova, ma tute ala 
roversa contrarie e maledete. Questa povera tera xe 
in el mazor spavento che la fosse mai, et se fano chosse 
che non se fexe mai. Tuti zentilomeni et puovolani, 
che a la posibilila, comprano armadure por suo doso 
per armarse, te dicho di ioo i 90 ; una churazina che 
valeva 2 e 3 ducati val 5 e 6 ; son per comprarne una 
per mi ad ogni modo, che mai criti, mi mancho mel 
pensi, siche considera chome se sta, se pol ben dir 
adesso chome dixe el fiorentin ; se Dio non ze ajuta 
chachata labiamo. E piui oltre non mi estenderb dirte 
salvo pregar messer domine Dio ne ajuti. Ogni zorno 
tute le jezie de questa tera fa prozesion, portano el 
Crozeflso e chantano le letanie con molte done e omeni 
driedo tanto devotamente quanto vedesti mai ; le done 
tu non le vedi piu vestide chome le andavano, ma tutte 
alia tonda, con le sue chandele in man, et molte desse 
con le lagreme ai ochi e sospiri e chiamarse in cholpa 
. . . Gharestia grande, che Idio ze aiuti. Sti zorni sa 
paga lire 8 al ster in fontago ; a hora con l'ajuto de Dio 
la xe chala a lire 6 la bona." 

The picture here given us of Venice under the terror 
of attack differs but little from Da Porto's description, 
only the soldier noble of Vicenza, though loving Venice, 
cannot hide that jealousy which all the nobles of the 
mainland felt for the sovereign city, nor can he curb 
that air of insolence which is common to men of the 
sword. Da Porto represents the government of Venice 
after the defeat of Agnadello as pavido e smarrilo, the 
patricians as dispirited and weeping, con fronte priva 
dogni baldanza, walking through the stricken city with 


uncertain gait. But of a truth Venice was never a prey 
to such a fit of cowardice. It is true that the Venetians 
feared the worst, that the churches were filled with 
throngs of the devout praying the God of battles to 
come to their aid, that the streets no longer echoed to 
revelry and song ; but it is not true that the Venetians, 
who had fought bravely if unhappily at Agnadello, sat 
down in cowardly apathy to await the final disaster. 
Of this our modest merchant assures us in accents of 
truth that cannot be mistaken. " Everybody," he says, 
" noble and humble alike, is buying armour " ; cuirasses 
have doubled in price ; the good Merlini himself is on 
the point of buying one in order to take the field 
in defence of his country. No one can justly call 
"terror-stricken" and "helpless" the government 
which repelled the violence of united Europe, saved its 
liberty, and recovered by arms and diplomacy its lost 

But the terrible struggle profoundly damaged the 
power of the State, and diminished both public and 
private fortunes, which were already suffering under 
the decline of commerce. The treasure accumulated 
in the past, however, was so large that it almost 
sufficed to meet the present needs, and when the 
revenue ran short the Venetians, always ready to dis- 
play their riches, did not hesitate to encroach on their 
capital with a lordly indifference which served to hide 
the real extent of their losses and their sufferings. 
It was a pride that had the qualities of strength and 
of nobility. And so for many a year to come Venice 
made head against her adverse fortune, continued the 
magnificent traditions of her political and civil con- 
stitution, and gathered fresh laurels in the fields of 
learning and of art. Such was the fame of the glorious 
city throughout the entire world that each nation was 
filled with the desire to study its government, its arms, 
its laws, its political and economical institutions. 


In the new conditions of Europe the Republic ap- 
peared no less admirable than in the past ; and though 
certain sources of revenue were running dry and other 
misfortunes overtook the State, the prudence of her 
foreign policy kept even pace with the forethought 
which was applied to the administration of home affairs. 
An admirable clarity of vision marked every act of 
public life, even the most trifling ; a wise egoism, if 
we may use the phrase, was the informing principle, 
and every conceivable question in public life was 
measured by the sole consideration of the profit or 
loss which might accrue to the State. Heirs of a 
traditional common-sense, the patricians, who neverthe- 
less admired and worshipped nobility of conduct, never 
for a moment allowed themselves to be led into sacri- 
fices for an empty ideal. Hence in their action we 
recognise something large and strong, far removed from 
feeble sentimentality. They held that in public affairs 
nothing is more harmful than concessions and scruples. 
For example, to take one mere detail, foreign ambas- 
sadors were received with every imaginable outward 
regard, but they were really considered as secret foes 
and were surrounded by vigilant distrust. So strong 
was this insistence on the interests of the State that 
even the duties of hospitality were forced to give way, 
and severe penalties were meted out to the patrician 
who had any intercourse with a foreign envoy or his 
household. The Venetian ambassadors at foreign 
courts adapted themselves with remarkable ability to 
the habits and customs of the countries to which 
they were accredited, but foreign ambassadors on the 
Lagoons were debarred from all intimacy with the 
patriciate and jealously prevented from acquiring too 
close a knowledge of the affairs of Venice. Failing to 
bear in mind that every act of Venetian policy was in- 
spired by a sole regard for the welfare of the State, we 
might easily mistake the indifference of the Venetians 


to all that affected other peoples for cold-blooded cyni- 
cism. As an instance, Ave may cite the replies given 
by the Doge Andrea Gritti to the Imperial and to the 
French ambassador after the defeat of Francis I at 
Pavia. The Imperial ambassador entered the Cabinet 
as the French Ambassador, the Bishop of Bayeux, was 
leaving, and the Doge, who had just condoled with 
the French, congratulated the Emperor, adding with a 
smile that there was no contradiction in his words, for 
as the Republic was equally the friend of both monarchs 
it followed Saint Paul's injunction to weep with those 
that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice. 

Venetian intelligence was directed solely to the ac- 
quisition of that most difficult of all knowledge, knowl- 
edge of one's self. The fascination of an over-refined 
culture failed to seduce the Venetians, who had before 
their eyes the example of Florence, which, in spite of 
the subtle acuteness of its intellect and the exquisite 
delicacy of its culture, had failed to preserve its free- 
dom ; so true is it that it is not always the keenest 
wits that best understand the art of governing, and 
that modest but practical common-sense is worth more 
than lofty intelligence which is apt to be restless and 
is ever too ready to embrace rash courses. The Vene- 
tians, on the contrary, acquired an universal fame for 
sound judgment, and were frequently called in to 
decide controversies between various States of Italy, 
while distant courts were wont to invite the decision 
of the citizens of San Marco in the phrase eamus ad 
bonos Venetos. Patient under difficulties, the Vene- 
tians were as firm in abiding by a decision as they 
were slow in arriving at it, nor did they ever allow 
themselves to be led aside by sentiment or ambition. 
Ambitious they certainly were, but they were also ad- 
mirably disciplined, and were ready, individually, to 
lay aside the highest offices and to return to private 


Notwithstanding its rigid principles and the aridity 
of its sentiment, the Venetian government was not 
only feared but loved by its dependents. The govern- 
ing body did not adopt the motto of the Roman Em- 
perors, oderint dum metuant, and the people who served 
them loyally received in return peace, and a govern- 
ment almost free from taxes. It is precisely to this 
attitude that we must ascribe the affection for the 
Republic which still survives among the peoples of the 
Dalmatian coast. The Venetians were astute enough 
not to weigh too heavily on conquered races, but to 
create for themselves loyal and devoted subjects, leav- 
ing intact local customs and statutes and instructing 
the governors to exercise impartial justice, to listen to 
the natives, and to protect them against the petty 
tyrants of the mainland. Every now and again gov- 
ernment commissioners, called Sindici, were sent to 
examine the conduct of the Rectors and to hear com- 
plaints. Thus, treated as capable of obedience but not 
of slavery, the people, who had under their eyes the 
example of Spanish tyranny in the Milanese, were well 
content with the mild rule of the Venetian Republic. 

Venice, the richest, the freest, and comparatively the 
happiest among Italian cities, is represented, by Paolo 
Veronese in the Ducal Palace, as a human being, sur- 
rounded with gold and gems, with purple and brocade, 
crowned by Glory, and supported by Valour, by Ceres 
and Juno, acclaimed by Fame. We have an echo of 
the admiration and even veneration for Venice in the 
hymns of triumph sent up by a legion of poets, small 
and great ; and from the close of the fifteenth century 
Venice knew how to make use of this popular enthu- 
siasm for the diffusion of her policy, as a testimony 
to her merits and as an instrument to mould popular 
opinions. 1 The admiration for Venice flows forth in 
a flood of Latin and Italian verse which makes a 

1 Medin, La Storia della Rep. di Ven. nella poesia, p. 189. 

Triumph of Vemce, by Paolo Veronese. (Ceiling 
of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, Ducal Palace) 

Photo by Anderson 


curious contrast to the bitter epigrams and envenomed 
invectives of her foes. The Muse escorts the Re- 
public on its conquests and its campaigns, comforts 
it in disaster, acclaims the wisdom of its laws, the 
beauty of its art, its amazing wealth, its singular cus- 
toms. In Latin and in Italian poems, odes, songs, 
sonnets, idylls, epigrams, an innumerable throng of 
poets, — Marcantonio Sabellico, Francesco Modesti of 
Saludecio near Rimini, Gregorio Oldoini of Cremona, 
Francesco Arrigoni of Brescia, Bartolomeo Pagello of 
Vicenza, Monsignore Giovanni della Casa, Andrea 
Navagero, Bernardino Tomitano, 1 to mention only the 
better known, — vie with each other in praise of 
Venice ; all join in chorus to laud the city which 
Gabriello Ghiabrera calls the Sposa di Nettuno, 

l'adorno seggio 
ove la cara liberta ripara. 

Nor are foreigners wanting in this train of encomi- 
asts ; the Frenchman Marcantonius Muretus writes a 
Latin ode on the glory of Venice, and another French 
poet, Jerome d'Audebert, after describing the monu- 
ments, the fetes, the customs, the naval power of the 
Republic, dwells at length on the magistracy, and ex- 
claims that sounder justice could not be found even 
in the Saturnian age : 

Cultus justitiae, sancti reverentia juris 
equior aurato Saturni non fuit aevo. 2 

The well-known epigram by Jacopo Sannazzaro, who 
sang the praises of Venice in Latin elegiacs, was 
imitated, paraphrased, or copied by hundreds of 

1 The titles of the works by these authors are to be found in the 
Bibliographies of Cicogna and Soranzo, in Jacopo Morelli's Componimenti 
poetici di vari autori in lode di Venezia, Venezia, 1792, and in the work of 
Medin, already quoted. 

2 Germani Audeberti, Venetiae. Venetiis, Aldus, i583. 


poetasters, 1 who open the gates to that flood of verse 
which was poured out during the Seicento, though 
we must acknowledge that the high-sounding phrase 
did not always correspond to the facts. 

But the wisdom of the Venetian constitution and the 
justice of Venetian laws aroused the admiration not of 
facile or venal flatterers only ; they won the respect 
of severer critics as well. In i53q a friar of lofty 
character, Bernardino Ochino, preaching with stirring 
eloquence in the church of the Frari, thus apostro- 
phises the City of the Lagoons : " E guardo in ogni 
parte, non vi e piu torre, ne citta in Italia, che non 
sia perturbata, solo la citta tua sta alquanto in piede ; 
e perb mi pare che tu contenga in te . . . tutta 
l'ltalia." 2 

1 We quote Sannazzaro's epigram : 

De mirabile urbe Venetiis 

Vidorat hadriacis venetam Neptunui in undis 

Stare urbem et toto ponere jura mari ; 

Nunc mihi tarpejas quamtumvis, Jupiter, arces 

Obiice, et ilia tui moenia Martis, ait. 

Si pelago Tybrim praefers, urbem adspice utramquc : 

Illam homines dices, hanc posuisse deos. 

G. B. Crispo of Gallipoli in his Vita del Sannazzaro says: " negli 
Epigrammi argutissimo e pieno di molto sale : e per uno solo fattone in 
lode del meraviglioso sito di Venetia, mi aflerma il signor Aldo Mannucci 
haverne avuto in dono cento scudi per ciascun verso dalla Scrmissima 
Repubblica." Inspired, no doubt, by this fact, many other poets imitated 
the verses of Sannazzaro. We quote the following variant from the 
poems of the Brescian Arrigoni under the title, De omni Venetorum 
excellentia : 

" Humanus labor est in terra ponere muros 
Divinus autem in aequore." 

2 Ochino, Bernardino, Prediche predicate nella inclita citta di Vinegia del 
1539. Vinegia, Bindoni e Pasini, i5£l (a very rare opuscule in the 
Biblioteca Guicciardiniana in the Bibl. INaz., Florence) p. 24. Bernardino 
Ochino of Siena (b. 1487), a preacher of great renown and spiritual 
director of Cardinal Bembo. In i54a Bernardino was attracted to the 
ideas of the Reformation, and fearing persecution from Rome, he lied to 
Geneva. He died in 1 564 at Schlackan in Moravia. Cf. Benarth, Bernard 
Ochino von Siena. Leipzig, 1872. 


"O signor mio," so writes Paolo Giovio in i544 
to Fedeli, the Venetian Resident in Milan, " il nome 
Italiano sta fresco se l'Evangelista non tiene fermo il 
stendardo," and he adds that the standard of the 
Evangelist is the standard of Italian freedom. 1 In that 
very year the Papal Nuncio at Venice was Monsignor 
Giovanni della Gasa, author of the Galateo ; he lavished 
praise in prose and verse on Venice the fortunate, given 
by God's grace to Italy in happy hour " e sopra quante 
citta mai furono, dalla terra e dagli uomini riverita 
e dal cielo e da Dio innanzi ad ogni altra amata e 
cara tenuta." 

The Venetian patricians sought by every means in 
their power to further the public service ' ' aspirando 
senza intermissioni a legationi et magistrati, non per- 
donando per conseguirli, o esercitarli ad alcuna fatica, 
o spesa quantunque grande ; un obsequio, oltre a cib 
verso i piu antichi, un applauso generale verso i migli- 
ori, una salutare emulatione verso i piu grandi che 
maggiormente per honesta contentione genera utilita e 
diletto, che per tumulto civile possa causare scandalo 
o danno " — thus, in i565, wrote Salvago to Gamillo 
Paleotto, who was on a visit to the city of Venice, the 
asylum of Italian freedom. 2 

Bernardo Tasso, speaking of Venice to Count Claudio 
Rangone, exclaims : ' ' Non e ella Fornamento e lo splen- 
dore dell' italiana dignita ? Non rappresenta ella una 
immagine dell' autorita e grandezza della romana repub- 
blica? In questo oscuro e tenebroso secolo, quale altra 
luce o splendore e rimaso alia mia misera Italia ? Non 
siamo noi tutti servi, tutti tributarii, non dird di 
barbare, ma di straniere nazioni? . . . Questa sola 
ha conservato la sua antica liberta ; questa sola a niuno 
(fuor che a Dio e alle sue ben ordinate leggi) rende 

1 The letter was published by F. Stefani in the Arch. Veneto, T. I, 
p. 374. 

2 Ritratto della vita civile dei Veneziani nel 1565. Pisa, Nistri, 1879. 


ubbidienza. Conserviamo queste reliquie, anzi questo 
esempio della antica dignita. 1 

More curious and more significant than these facile 
laudations are the venomous satires and poisonous dia- 
tribes against a State which on account of its power 
and its wealth could not fail to awaken jealousy, envy, 
and hatred. When the League of Cambray was formed 
against the Republic, poetry, too, launched its sullen 
threats, and the Frenchman Pierre Gringore announced 
the coming vengeance : 

Tremblez, tremblez, bourgoys veniciens, 

vous avez trop de tresors anciens 

mal conquestez ; tost desployer les fault. 

And Italian rhymesters joined the chorus of foreign in- 
vective ; for example, Betuzzo da Gotignola exclaims : 

Mora, mora Veneziani 
mora 'sti arabiati cani 
con soi falsi tradimenti 
e da ogniun scaciati e spenti 
sien tutti a questo passo. 2 

After the defeat of Agnadello the insults and invec- 
tives of the French, German, and Italian foes of Venice, 
rejoicing in her discomfiture, grew fiercer and more 
menacing. Venice was too great to escape the exulta- 
tation of the envious at her abasement. Louis Elian, 
Ambassador of Louis XII of France to the Princes of 
Germany, inveighed against the maledetta super bia dei 
Venetiani, who treated kings and princes as pitlocherie 
d'uomini and despised all who had not sequins by the 
thousand in their coffers. But Venice by her con- 
stancy and ability outlived both threats and dangers, 
and silenced her calumniators. Even the fierce accuser 
Elian is forced against his will to exclaim : ' 4 Grande e 
la potenza dei Veneziani, imperciocche quelli che hanno 
trovato ardimento d'aspettar in campagna aperta quattro 

1 B. Tasso, Lcttere, Vol. I, p. 73. Padova, 1733. 
3 Medin, op. cit., pp. i5o, i5i. 


Principi li piu potenti dei Cristiani, e spiegate le 
bandiere combattere a guerra aperta, certamente do- 
vemo stimare e giudicare huomini potentissimi/' * 

1 Orazione di Lodovico Helliano, ambasciatore di Francia ai Principi di 
Germania contro i veneziani. Bib. Marciana, cl. XI, God. CLXXX. The 
original Latin text has been printed. Another copy, a translation, is to be 
found in the Bib. Militare at Turin. Gf. Bargilli, Manosoritti della Bib., 
p. 21. Torino, 1905. 

vol. 1. — 2 



THE nature of the Venetian constitution, in which 
various offices were linked together and acted 
simultaneously like the wheels of a watch, helps 
to explain how it came about that the striking energy 
of individual Venetians was able to proceed in so 
orderly and regular a fashion. The Doge, who had 
the appearance but not the actual power of a sovereign, 
signed all the more important acts of the Republic, 
presided in its supreme councils, and, assisted by the 
Collegio, or Cabinet, received princes, ambassadors, 
captains, and other distinguished personages. 1 

1 We have various representations of these solemn audiences in which 
the Doge appeared in all his majesty. We reproduce a miniature, al- 
most entirely unknown, which shows us an audience of the Doge in 1571, 
the year of the victory of Lepanto. It is taken from a codex in the Bib- 
liotheque Nationale in Paris (Print room A, d, i34) and is thus described : 
" Description historique d'un volume compost de tableaux peints en minia- 
ture, qui repre^entent les voyages et les aventures de Charles Magius, 
noble V^netien (?), depuis que les Turcs attaquerent et prirent l'ile de 
Chypre sur les V^netiens, jusqu'apres la fameuse Bataille de Lepanthe, 
gagnee par les Chretiens contre les Infideles en 1671." The volume passed 
from the library of the late M. Guyon de Sardiere into the library of 
M. le Due de la Valliere. The Codex is also mentioned by Morelli 
(Operette, Vol. II, p. 187). The patrician family of Magi became extinct 
in 1307. There was a cittadina family of the same name, probably a 
branch of the patrician Magi which had become separated from the main 
stock before the legal establishment of the oligarchy. Charles Magi, who 
made long voyages in the Levant, was not a patrician, but a citizen, father 
of Antonio, secretary to the French Embassy. The will in the Arch, di 
Stato (Sezione Notarile) thus indicated, " Testamento . . . di Magi Carlo 
fu Gio. Francesco viaggiatore, March 5, 1587, N° 387," is certainly the 

A> Audience of the Doge — miniature from the 
Codex Maggi in the Bibliotheque Rationale, Paris 


The Cabinet, composed of twenty-six nobles, namely, 
the Doge and his six Councillors, who formed the 
Signoria, three Chiefs of the Quarantia Criminate, or 
Supreme Court of Justice, six Savi Grandi, five Savi 
di Terra ferma, five Savi degli Ordeni, was entrusted 
with the representation of the State and distributed to 
the various branches of the administration all the mul- 
tifarious business of the Republic. To the Great 
Council, presided over by the Signoria, belonged the 
supreme authority. The Senate, the soul of the Re- 
public, called the Pregadi, from the ancient custom 
of inviting certain citizens to assist the Doge with their 
advice, was charged with the public administration and 
the questions of war and peace. The Savi Grandi, 
di Terra ferma, and degli Ordeni formed the executive 
and had the power to initiate business in the Senate. 
The Council of Ten was entrusted with public safety. 
Attached to these high offices of State and controlled 
by them were other government departments for the 
administration of justice, for the control of revenue, 
for the direction of trade, for public works, for the 
management of the army and navy, — departments, in 
short, so numerous and with such varied and compli- 
cated attributes that it seems impossible that the public 
service should not have been seriously hampered ; and 
yet precisely the reverse took place, and the Venetian 
administration proceeded with a smoothness and regu- 
larity never equalled in any other country. From 
the smallest affairs to the most momentous, from the 
rules of debate to the method of voting, 1 from the 

will of our Charles Magi. It begins " Laus Deo M ia et Omnium Sanc- 
torum, 1587 addl 5 marzo in Venetia. Nella mia solita habitation. Nella 
contra de S. Marcilian in corte vechia della Procolatia de Citra." 

1 The method of voting, in the great assemblies of the State, varied 
from time to time. Usually it was secret, cum bussolis et ballotis. The 
ballot box, bossolo, was composed of three separate boxes, one white for the 
"aye" votes, one green for the "noes," one red for the neutrals (non 
sinceri), a vote of no weight as given by a voter who felt incapable of a 
definite judgment. The necessary quorum varied also according to the 


distribution of offices to the secrecy of deliberations, all 
was calculated with the most singular prudence, and an 
organisation which in other circumstances would have 
seemed either vicious or erroneous became, in Venice, 
an untold benefit to the State. For example, in the 
Senate, nominally composed of one hundred and twenty 
nobles, many other magistrates had a seat and a vote, 
such as the Procurators of Saint Mark, the Council 
of Ten, and the whole Bench of the Quarantia Crimi- 
nate. And yet the business handled by this large body 
was never retarded, nor the secret of debate violated. 
Furthermore, the Senate was elected each year anew, 
and affairs of State, which usually require a long ex- 
perience, came to be dealt with by fresh and unin- 
formed hands. Even the ancients found it necessary 
to provide against this drawback, and the provisions of 
Lycurgus created Senators for life, while Solon made 
the Senate a permanent instead of an annual body. 
But here again, in Venice, what had the appearance of 
a defect really proved to be a benefit, partly because 
the whole body was not renewed every year ; some 
were re-elected, while the annual election permitted the 
exclusion of those who had proved to be incompetent, 
and the infusion of new and vigorous blood. 

History oilers us few examples of a small State ruling 
a wide dominion with political wisdom, and such States 
can hardly ever be democratic, for to govern vast 
territories with scanty forces demands the existence 
of a continuous policy or rather the absence of the 
spirit of bold innovation in the public administration. 
The Venetian aristocracy closely resembles the British 
aristocracy of to-day in its principle of hereditary 
statesmen who hand down the art, the secret, the tradi- 
tions of government from father to son, and thus 

Council. Half or a bare majority was sufficient in the Maggior Consiglio and 
in the Senate, but in the Quarantia the College of XV, for example, 
required the presence of eleven members to make a quorum, the College 
of XXV, seventeen. 


preserve unchanged the fundamental principles of gov- 
ernment in spite of a constant change of individual 

The authority of the law which defined the relations 
of Church and State and of individual men to one an- 
other and to the State continued in admirable vigour. 
It was the excellence of the Venetian law, above all, 
that won for the Republic such lasting respect. The 
life of Venice is unfolded in all its grandeur ; Venetian 
morals are governed and corrected by the admirable 
code of the Republic. 

In her ecclesiastical legislation Venice always drew a 
subtle distinction between affairs temporal and spiritual. 
The Doge Leonardo Donato, in declaring to the Nuncio 
that ' ' II Principie non conosce nelle cose temporali 
alcun superiore dopo la divina maesta," was merely 
expressing that great politico-religious principle which 
gave to the Republic those qualities of virile will and 
acute intelligence which we so much admire. All other 
human authority must bow before the authority of the 
State. Thus at the Council of Trent Venice accepted 
all the decisions which concerned dogma, but steadily 
refused to recognise the canons of ecclesiastical dis- 
cipline which infringed her own code or invaded her 
rights. The clergy were called upon to obey the Pope 
in matters spiritual, but in matters temporal their 
allegiance was due to the State, as in the case of other 
citizens. The relations of the State to the Church were 
based upon a union of severe regulations coupled with 
pious benefactions. Venetian ecclesiastical policy took 
its colour from this apparently contradictory order of 
ideas. Not only did the State display a profound piety, 
a deep reverence for all that was hallowed by the 
Church, — she won for herself the title of citta apos- 
tolica e santa, — but she even sought to draw to her 
side the sacerdotal element in the State by surround- 
ing the ecclesiastical office with respectful consideration, 


strengthening the position of the bishops by restoring 
their jurisdiction over regulars, forbidding pluralities, 
and the illegal spoliation of beneficiaries, endeavouring 
to eliminate favouritism and simony, protecting the 
higher clergy from molestation by the Curia and the 
lower clergy from the violence of their superiors, super- 
vising the payment of dues and augmenting stipends. 1 
The secular clergy, as far as civil discipline was con- 
cerned, were under the authority of the Council of 
Ten, the regulars under the Provveditori sopra monas- 
tery founded in i52i, whose duty it was to supervise 
monastic establishments and to correct abuses, but at 
the same time to protect monastical property. 

The Venetian Republic desired to establish a kind of 
police over ecclesiastical institutions with the reser- 
vation to the State of the right to guard the interests 
of the nation. Hence we get krvvs limiting the im- 
munity of the ecclesiastical courts and checking the 
extension of mortmain ; supervision of monasteries 
and churches ; equal justice for lay and ecclesiastic 
alike, both being equally subject to taxation ; the 
placet and the exequatur rigorously enforced ; the right 
to nominate patriarchs and bishops maintained ; and 
the exclusion of ecclesiastics from public offices and also 
of all beneficed nobles. 2 Three senators, Inquisitori 

1 Battistclla, La politica ecclesiastica della Repubblica Veneta (Nuovo Arch. 
Veneto, T. XVI, P. II). 

a On January 19, i^k, the Great Council, considering that it is not 
fitting that ecclesiastics who are dedicated to divine service should take 
part in functions wholly alien to such duties, decree "che de caetero 
quando vacasse alcuna nodaria o scrivania esercitata da preti, non possano 
esser piu eletti preti ma laici per il Consiglio di quaranta al Criminal" 
... In 1^98 it was ordered "che qualunque zentilhomo nostro e sia de 
che eta e condition se voglia che habi o de caetero havera alcun titolo, 
commenda o pension de benefitio de qual sorte se sia ecclesiastico cum cura 
o senza cura pro facto chel habi consegui tal benefitio se intendi esser, et 
per auctorita de questo conseglio sia fuori de ogni arbitrio et faculta per 
poder vegnir in questo ne altro Conseglio nostro, ne participar de alguni 
de li offitii, benefitii, regimenti, ne consegli de la Sig. nostra, ma se in- 
tendi esser et sia ipso facto nel numero di chierci, i quali non hanno a 
partecipar de li offitii et benefitii che se distribuiscono a seculari per 


all eresia, acted as assessors to the Holy Office, even 
when it was trying priests ; the Inquisition was not 
competent to try cases of witchcraft or blasphemy 
unless coupled with a suspicion of heresy, nor could 
it publish the ordinances of the Roman Congregation, 
especially on the subject of books, without first sub- 
mitting them to the government. The prisons of the 
Inquisition, the police, the Inquisitor himself, the 
Commissary of the procurator, and the Chancellor of 
the Holy Office, — all Venetian subjects, — were under 
the control of the State. 1 If the Church dared to exalt 
herself as a power civilly independent, the State did 
not hesitate to declare war in terms both vigorous and 
resolute, which reached their climax in the spirited 
opposition of Fra Paolo Sorpi. 2 

The strange blending of lay and ecclesiastical juris- 
dictions in the Venetian system once more illustrates 
the remarkable cohesion of the State. For example, 
from earliest times we get the office of the Inquisitors 
on the patarene heretics and on usury. Their statutes 
declare that they were instituted ad inquirendum et 
inveniendum patarenos, hereticos et suspectos de heresi, 
tarn Venetos quam forinsecos. 3 Curious, too, is the 
combination of the offices of the magistrates sopra 
canali, and dei patareni e usurai, established July 8, 
1270, quod, so runs the decree, de duobus offitiis, 
videlicet de Mo usurarum et patarenorum et de canalibus, 
fiat unum. i In fact the clergy in many respects as 

questo Conseglio" (Arch, di Stato, Maggior Consiglio, Stella, fol. i56, 
t°, September 23, 1498). Cf. Leggi Venete intorno agli Ecclesiastici. Pub. 
pernozze Comello-De Totto, Venezia, i864- 

1 Gecchetti, La Repubblica di Venezia e la Corte di Roma, Vol. I, p. 20. 
Venezia, 1874. 

2 Tbe Republic was placed under interdict five times: first, for having 
demolished the first Church of San Geminiano without leave in 1173-, 
second, for the invasion of Ferrara; third, for the occupation of Ferrara; 
fourth, by Julius II, who claimed the cities of the Romagna ; fifth, by 
Paul V in i6o5. 

8 Arch, di Stato, Collez. Cod. n. i33, fols. 121, 122. 
* Ibid., Maggior Consiglio, Bifrons, fol. 4o. 


regards their ministry were regulated much as the 
mechanic was regulated by that inherent principle of the 
Venetian constitution which undertook the supervision 
of all component parts of its social structure and made 
no exception in favour of the church. 1 

The head of the great ecclesiastical family 2 was the 
Patriarch. Pope Nicholas V suppressed the Patri- 
archate of Grado, and transferred its metropolitan 
jurisdiction to the Bishop of Castello. In i45i the 
Republic elected the first Patriarch of Venice in the 
person of Lorenzo Giustinian. The Venetian clergy 
was composed of nine congregations, numbering three 
hundred and sixty priests. Each congregation was pre- 
sided over by an arch-priest. Priests, deacons, sub- 
deacons, and clerks served the churches, whose parish 
priests were elected by the parishioners or neighbours. 3 
The six sestieri of the city were, in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, divided into seventy-six parishes, to which we 
must add eight churches served by friars. 

At the time of the interdict under Paul V, an anony- 
mous writer in Rome showed himself a fierce opponent 
not only of the Republic but also of the Venetian 

1 As a curiosity we quote a decree of the eighteenth century which 
places out-door preachers on the same footing as mountebanks, and 
orders them to observe the town regulations in the exercise of their 
calling: "A<li 17 Gennaro 1 7 r i3 [m. v.]. Si fa Not* euer stato or- 
dinato da S. E. Gavi: Vr T . Gassier Misser Marco Foscarini al Predicator di 
Piazza; il dovere alle ore 22 e meza di cadaun giorno di questo Carno- 
vale aver terminata la Predica, e discender dal Pulpito; e cib a niottivo 
che nou succcdano scandali e disordini nel maggior concorso delle mas- 
care; e pcrche anche li Giarlatani, Casotti, et altri che in tal tempo 
concorrono in Piazza posttno aver tempo di esercitare la loro arte; ordi- 
nandogli pure che non debba esser trasportato il Pulpito nel mezzo della 
Piazza se non nel punto che dovra ascenderlo; ordinandone la presente 
nota per memoria del tempo avvenire." (Arch, di Stato, Proc. de Supra, 
B. 70, fasc. 5, Proc. 176.) 

* The churches in Venice at this date numbered over one hundred and 

8 " Li piovani de le contrade si elezeno da li parocchiani a ballota, zoe 
da quelli che hanno stabele in detta contrada ; e poi vien scritto a Roma 
tal elertione, et sono dal pontificc confirmate." Sanudo, Cronachetta, ed. 
by Fulin, p. 53. Vcnezia, 1880. 


priesthood, and thus describes their vices and their igno- 
rance : " II Piovano viene eletto dalla Parocchia, dando 
ciasch' uno che ha la casa il voto, e quello che ha piu 
voti resta Piovano e questo per l'ordinario e quello che 
ha piu pratiche et amicitie, e no' si ha Focchio ne a 
virtu ne a meriti, dove che sono sempre questi eletti li 
piu ignoranti, e piii viziosi, e scelerati, che sono in 
quelle Chiese, l'altri preti poi dell' istessa Chiesa si 
eleggono da loro stessi a piu voti, dal che nasce che 
tutta la pretaria di Venetia sta sempre impiegata in 
queste pratiche, e imbrogli, e niuno attende a virtu . . . 
e quindi in Venetia no* si fa furfanteria che no' vi sia 
adoprato per mezzo per ordinario un frate o un prete, 
li quali a guisa di umilissimi servitori corteggiano e 
servono i Nobili, et altri della Parocchia, e perche per 
Fordinario questi benefitii son tenui, nessuno nobile 
Venetiano, ne mercante ne artista honorato si fa Prete 
e cosi tutti i Preti di Venetia ordinariamente sono di 
queste tre sorte, cio e o figlioli di p. . . , o figlioli di 
barcaroli, o figlioli di servi; e pero come gente vile et 
ignorante e che non attende se non a forfanterie e vitii, 
e sono poco stimati, anzi aborriti e fugiti ; e conforme 
al loro mal nascimento e peggiore educatione sono 
vitiosissimi e scandalosissimi e quasi tutti per l'ordinario 
tengono in casa donne infami pubblicamente, con 
haverne figlioli i quali han cura delle Chiese, co' scan- 
dalo di tutti i buoni." 1 

The judgment is not impartial, for though we can- 
not rebut the charge of ignorance, encouraged perhaps 
by the government, who desired to keep the priesthood 
far apart from public life, still the Venetian clergy, 
considered not in the intimate details of their private 
life, which was frequently far from laudable, but in 

1 Biblioteca Corsiniana, Rome, Relatione del Stato, Costumi, Disordini et 
Remedii de Venetia. MS. of the Seventeenth Century (Col. 39, B a 7). It 
forms part of a Miscellany which bears this title : Raccolta di varie scritture 
e maneggi fatti sull' affare dell' Interdetto di Paolo V, pubblicata contro la 
Serenissima Republica di Venezia. 


their general position in the social structure, proved 
to be always docile if skilfully handled, modest and 
prudent, and devoted to all that made for peace and the 
public weal. 

As regards civil and criminal law, the code published 
by the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo was constantly and care- 
fully revised in the following centuries. 1 But in spite 
of codification the principle that custom served not 
merely to interpret or to complete the code but could 
even overrule it, always obtained in Venice. Daniele 
Manin was fully justified in declaring that a very im- 
perfect and inexact conception of Venetian law would 
be formed by any one who confined his study to the 
code. 2 However it is certain that the Venetian code in 
its civil and commercial aspects presents a marked 
advance on the jurisprudence of other contemporary 
States. In short, both written and customary law were 
of a nature to satisfy the demands of a people jealously 
addicted to equity and whose motto was pane in piazza 
e giastizia in Palazzo. To grasp its importance it will 
suffice to compare some essential principles of Venetian 
law with modern Italian legislation. 

As regards persons, legitimate children remained 
under the patria poleslas until they had reached sixteen 
years of age, after which the father could emancipate 
them by a simple declaration before a notary. Illegiti- 
mate children could prosecute a search for paternity, 
availing themselves of publica voce e fama as irrefragable 
proof ; a disposition which seems excessively benevo- 
lent, in view of the opinion of authorities on the right 
of illegitimates to establish their parentage before the 
law. The fact that illegitimacy was a bar to nobility, 

1 The law was the subject of constant attention on the part of the gov- 
ernment and of eminent lawyers until, in 1678, the patrician Marino 
Angeli, after ten years of labour, drew up a scheme of titles under which 
the code could be classified. 

a Delia Giurisprudcnza Veneta (in Venezia e le sue lagune, Vol. I, P. I, 
p. 391). 


to enfeoffment, and to succession in entail, was not a 
sufficient deterrent. The road lay wide open to illicit 
generation and was frequently taken. It is remarkable 
that the practice of adoption was so rare in Venice ; 
history records two cases of adoption by the State, 
the case of Caterina Cornaro and the case of Bianca 
Capello. The anomaly is explained by the fact that 
in the earliest times adoption was used to prevent the 
extinction of noble families and illustrious names. We 
should naturally have supposed that an aristocratic 
caste would have favoured the use of an expedient 
intended to supply the defects of stepmother Nature, 
and which, by the facts of the case, could only be 
sparingly adopted by the lower orders ; yet the case is as 
Ave state it, and we can offer no other explanation save 
that the Venetian patricians, such jealous guardians of 
their family honour, were unwilling to extend the priv- 
ileges of the patriciate beyond the bounds of blood 

On the other hand, the custom of choosing as figliuoli 
d'anima the sons of poor dependents and establishing 
bonds of gratitude, was in common use. If a daughter 
were married, she had the right to be dowered by her 
father in a manner suitable to her new rank ; if the 
father were unable, the duty fell on the mother and on 
her relations in ascending grade. This is a provision 
which meets with our approval, all the more so as 
anything similar to it is lacking in Italian law. In 
the feverish haste to grow rich which marks our mod- 
ern world, we cannot rely on mere sentiment, and 
we hold that in this respect the Republic took a wise 
precaution. No less provident was the provision that, 
in case of ecclesiastical separation of the wife from the 
husband on the ground of her adultery, the guilty 
party forfeited her dower, which was enjoyed by the 
husband and could be recovered by the wife only if 
the couple resumed cohabitation. Certainly we have 


no desire to see morality inculcated by the stimulus 
of material interest, but any one who knows human 
nature cannot think it a superfluous check that those 
who are inclined to flout decorum should be compelled 
to respect it even by indirect pressure. Nowadays, 
when the principle of conciliation seems to have lost 
much of its force, we certainly cannot but approve the 
disposition of Venetian law, which in the case of family 
disputes appointed four arbitrators, called confide nil, 
whose finding, if unanimous, admitted of no appeal. 1 
Remarkable, too, is the prohibition which forbade a 
son to sue his father unless three out of the four con- 
fidenti recognised that the son had a good case, which 
was then heard before fresh arbitrators. 

On the laws affecting property we shall not enlarge, 
though here, too, viewed as a whole, Venetian legis- 
lation claims our admiration, in spite of details which 
to our modern ideas may seem vexatious, illiberal, and 
but little in harmony with the advanced views of the 
rest of the code ; as, for example, the law which for- 
bade a Venetian to acquire property or to invest money 
in a foreign State without the consent of the Senate ; 
and the law which made it illegal for Jews to acquire 
real property in Venice beyond the possession of their 
dwelling-house (gazaga) for the time of their stay 
(condoltd) in the city ; and the law which forbade 
advances on pawn, except by the Jews in the Ghetto, 
and then only for a limited amount, — a prohibition 
which naturally opened the way to evasion of a statute 
which was economically unsound. 

In matters of home trade we must note the Venetian 
companies legislation, intended to meet the difficulty 
of encouraging the employment of capital while at the 
same time preventing fraudulent associations which 
threw the liability on those least able to meet it. Trad- 
ing associations in Venice were called compagnie, and 

i This provision is dated May 26, i555. 


every company was bound to register itself before the 
office called sopra banchi (i524). The partners in 
the concern were, from the moment of their inscription 
in the list of the company, held liable in solido with 
whoever used the name of the firm. There were other 
associations in Venice, known as colleganze or rogadie, 
which are now called accomandita, or limited liabil- 
ity companies ; legal liability being confined to the 

Procedure in the courts was almost identical with 
what is now known as summary procedure. The 
defendant appeared in court and put in his defence, 
at the next sitting the plaintiff, and so on until the 
case on both sides was closed, then both parties ap- 
peared before the court, the whole case was discussed, 
and sentence issued. Appeal lay either to the auditor e 
vecchio, or novo, or novissimo, according to the nature 
of the suit. The court of appeal either upheld the 
judgment of the court below (spazzo di laudo), or 
quashed it (spazzo di taglio), or sent it before the 
Supreme Courts of Appeal (intromessione) . The Su- 
preme Courts were either the Collegio di XII, or the 
Collegio di XX, or the Quarantia Civile Vecchia, or the 
Quarantia Civile Nuova, and these pronounced either 
a spazzo di taglio or a spazzo di laudo. Appeals of high 
import were taken by one or other of the Quarantie. 
Before these courts both parties were usually repre- 
sented by two counsel. In many cases there was a 
fifth counsel watching the case, called the interruttore, 
who, when the last of the four other counsel was 
addressing the court, had the right to intervene on a 
point of law or of fact and to rebut fresh arguments, — 
a very trying procedure for the counsel pleading, but 
just for that reason the ablest counsel always undertook 
to speak last, and made use of the interruptions to 
colour his address and to strengthen his case by his 
ability in meeting unforeseen objections. The time 


allowed to each of the parties for the exposition of 
his case was equally measured for hoth ; on a little 
table in the middle of the court an usher placed an 
hourglass, called a mezzarola, because it marked half 
an hour, by the run of the sand, 1 called da ore. When 
the sand ran out, the usher cried va la mezzarola for 
the first half-hour, then va la seconda, va la terza, and 
va la quarta. Four half-hours was the time allowed 
for pleadings and answers. 

Legal procedure was at all times marked by spotless 
honesty and perfect equanimity. The calling of ad- 
vocate was held in high esteem among the liberal pro- 
fessions, and was permitted to those who were born in 
the sovereign city or in its subject States, but only on 
proof of a ten years' residence ; foreigners were also 
admitted to the bar on proving fifteen years' contin- 
uous residence. 2 Down to about the middle of the 
sixteenth century (i537) ecclesiastics were allowed to 
plead, but after that date they were forbidden to practise 
even as consulting counsel. Wards, widows, and the 
poor, under the provisions of very ancient statutes, en- 
joyed gratuitous guardianship from the government. 
For the defence of prisoners there were the ire nobili 
avvocati de' priggioni, who defended prisoners before 
the Quarantia Criminale in the presence of the public, 
which was freely admitted to the court. 8 In criminal 
cases which came before the Council of Ten, defence, 
which was always allowed, had to be presented in writ- 
ing. Prisoners under examination, whatever the court 
before which they were brought, even if it were the 
Council of Ten, had the right to choose two counsel for 
their defence, and to these were sometimes added two 
more chosen by lot. The advocates who pleaded in the 

1 Boerio, Dizionario del Dialetto Veneziano, gives the mezzarola as a 
quarter of an hour. 

2 Outside Venice a degree (laurea) was obligatory. 

• Arch, di Stato, M. C, Ursa, fol. i44 t n (June ao, i443). 


special courts, such as the Proprio, Fores tier, Pelizione, 
Esaminador, Procurator, Mobile, were called ordinari, 
and all belonged to the noble caste. Down to the 
fourteenth century no cause could be handled without 
the intervention of the ordinari, but this privilege, if 
not abolished, fell into disuse. In the sixteenth cen- 
tury, however, the number of ordinari was increased 
and fixed at twenty-four for the courts in the Palace 
and six at Rialto, and litigants were free to choose 
among them. The majority of ordinari, however, 
were content with their pay and title, and never pleaded 
a cause, that being left to solicitors, called intervenienti, 
who were young advocates not noble. Down to i53o 
it would seem that there was only one fiscal advocate ; 
but as time went on the number was increased. They 
were licensed by the Quarantia Criminate and paid by 
the government. 

It has been stated that Venice was the first govern- 
ment to establish what we call law officers of the 
Crown. In Venice this post dates back to the thir- 
teenth century, and the duties were entrusted to the 
Avogadori del Comun ; 1 but these, in fact, were merely 
the advocalas de parte publica of the Pavian procedure, 
whose origin can be traced back probably to the tenth 
century and whose functions are frequently mentioned 
in the edicts of the Lombard kings. 2 It cannot be said 
that the Avogadori del Comun correspond exactly to the 
modern law officers of the Crown. 3 

There was a lower order of law officers, the Coman- 
dadori, and the Fanti, who left an honourable name 
in history. The Comandadori were charged with the 
registration of summonses and with the execution of 
warrants and the publication of proclamations, but 

i Sclopis, Storia della legislazione italiana, Vol. II, Cap. VI, passim. 

2 Pertile, Storia del Diritto italiano, Vol. VI, P. II, § a53. 

3 Brunelli, Del Pubblico Ministevo, pp. ao, 29. Torino, 190^. Fulin, 
Di un' antica istit. mal nota. Venezia, 1875. 


chiefly with the public promulgation of the laws from 
the two pietre del Bando, one near the church of San 
Marco, the other in the vegetable market at Rialto. 1 
The Fanti were police officers in the service of the 
Ten or of the Inquisitors. They were chosen from the 
people, men cast in the ancient mould, bred in severe 
principles and devoted to their traditions. They per- 
formed their duties with such rigid scrupulousness 
that in the whole course of Venetian history we have 
not a single case of a Fante found in fault. Their 
registers are rude notebooks, in which were entered 
agreements and contracts concluded between parties 
and known as parole di volonta. These contracts 
always bear the marks of the most scrupulous exact- 
ness and were invariably held in the highest respect. 
The test of centuries secured for the class of the Fanti 
an almost superstitious veneration from nobles and 
people alike. 

The method of administering and applying justice 
was even more rigid and inflexible than the law itself 
in Venice. Even in the days of most frequent in- 
trigue, strife, conspiracy, ambition, abuse, among the 
nobles, hardly ever was justice contaminated or injured. 
In aristocratic States, even in times of corruption, the 
noble caste, being placed in a secure and independent 
position, usually preserve the integrity of their admin- 
istration, and their judgments are commonly inspired by 
rectitude unless indeed political passions intervene. In 
Venice, for example, in the course of civil suits judges 
were rigorously forbidden to receive visits from either 
of the parties to the cause, or recommendations from 
their friends ; while in criminal suits both were per- 
mitted, provided the interests of the State were not 

1 One is a block of red Oriental granite brought as a trophy from Acre, 
and placed at the Angle of San Marco in ia56. The other is a low col- 
umn with steps of white marble carried on a crouching figure, called the 
Gobbo di Rialto, carved in i54i by Pietro di Salb, one of Sansovino's best 


involved, and this with the liberal intent to leave every 
way open in favour of the accused. 

Inquisitorial procedure in Venice was as old as the 
Council of Ten. The general surveillance was en- 
trusted to two Inquisitors, chosen every month ; the 
special examination of accused persons to a Giunta, 
chosen at first from time to time, subsequently once a 
month. After i53o the Ten appointed three of their 
number yearly, with the title of Inquisitori conlro i 
propalatori del segreto and later of Inquisitori di Stato, 
to search for and punish traitors to the Republic. The 
Inquisitors never, as has been falsely alleged, tried 
prisoners summarily without formal procedure and on 
mere delation ; they followed a regular procedure, 
heard witnesses and defence, and published their sen- 
tences in the Great Council. They never sat in a 
chamber of the Palace hung in black and dimly lighted 
by yellow candles, but in a simple, modest room, well 
lighted and subsequently adorned by Tintoretto's paint- 
ings of the theological virtues on the ceiling. Secret 
denunciations were slipped into the mouths of lions' 
heads placed in the streets of the city or near the 
residences of the various magistracies. But anony- 
mous denunciations and lettere senza sottoscrition 1 
which did not cite at least two witnesses were burned, 
unless the Chiefs of the Ten and the Ducal Councillors 
declared by a majority of five-sixths that the accusation 
contained matter affecting the State. The evidence of 
spies was not accepted unless corroborated by honour- 
able testimony. 

Prisons for debtors and minor offences, called casoni, 2 

1 Sanudo tells us that on October i5, 1607, an anonymous letter was 
found on the stairs of the Palace accusing three noble ladies, Lucia Soranzo, 
Marina Emo, and Andriana Cappello, of ruining their families by their 
illegal luxury. The letter was not read publice per la leze non vuol si leza 
letere senza sotoscrition (Diari, VII, 79). 

2 At Santi Apostoli there is still a Campiello della Cason, and a Sotto- 
portico del Cason at San Giovanni in Bragora. 

vol. 1. — 3 


were to be found in various parts of the city. The 
State prisons were at the Terranova at Saint Mark's, 
close to the grain-stores, and also in the Ducal Palace. 
The prisons on the upper floor of the Palace were 
called carceri super iori, or Torreselle, •• dove si meteva 
li hoineni de Conto, retenuti per el conseio dei X" ; they 
dated from the construction of the Palace. 1 The 
prisons called inferiori were built in i3ai and i3a6. 
They ran along the quay, and bore the names of Liona, 
Morosina, Mocenigo, Forte, Orba, Frescagioia, Vulcano, 
and so on. Although called in decrees prisons de 
subtus Palatium, 2 they were not subterranean. When 
that part of the Palace which looks on to the Canal was 
reconstructed, about the middle of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, other prisons were built along the rio, not below 
the level of the water, nor even on the level of the 
water, but at the height of the pavement of the Palace 
entrance. 3 On to a narrow corridor with three turn- 
ings there open the doors of nine cells ; then, descend- 
ing a stair of sixteen steps, we find another nine. These 
cells, called camerotli or Pozzi, must have all been of 
one size and shape, like those which still remain in 
fairly good preservation. They were vaulted, 3.45 
metres high, 2.55 metres wide, 5.48 metres long. At 
the end was a wooden plank bed, 2.o5 metres long, 
and 0.74 wide. The light was dim, but not so scanty 
as to leave the prisoner in thick darkness ; the pris- 
oner was probably allowed a lamp or a light, for on 
the walls, either scratched or drawn in pencil, we can 
still read inscriptions. 

De chi me fido guardami Iddio 
De chi no me fido me guarderd io, 

writes one called Francesco, whose prudence here ex- 
pressed in verse does not seem to have served him to 

1 Zanotto, Pal. Due, pag. 5a, Tav. 4i. Venezia, i84i. 

2 Arch, di Stato, M. C, t. VII, fol. 19 t°. 

» Boni, Leprig. dei Pozzi (Arch. Ven., T. XXV, p. 45i). 

The Pozzt 


escape the arm of the Inquisitors. The long hours 
of confinement apparently taught wisdom, for another 
prisoner writes : 

Non ti fidar d'alcuno pensa e tacci » 
Se vitar vuoi de spioni insidia e lacci 
II pentirti e agitarti nulla giova 
Ma ben del valor tuo la vera prova. 

The prisoners in the Pozzi were in the dark and 
damp in the basements of the Palace ; the prisoners in 
the Piombi, on the contrary, lived high up under the 
roof. The Piombi were opened in i5qi, and took their 
name from the lead covering of the roof. There were 
only four cells, one to the west looking into the Court 
and three to the east looking over the Canal. They 
were from 1.85 to 2.57 metres high, and varied be- 
tween 2.78 and 3.85 in length. The walls were made 
of larch balks. In i58q the Republic built the prisons 
on the other side of the rio della Paglia, from designs 
by Antonio da Ponte. The Police Magistrates, the 
Signori di Notte al Criminale, had their office there. 
These new prisons received many who would other- 
wise have gone to the Pozzi, which, however, were 
not entirely abandoned even in the last years of the 
Republic. 1 The Palace was joined to the Prisons by a 
clumsy bridge in the style of the Seicento, called by 
the suggestive name of Bridge of Sighs, over which 
the prisoners passed to their trial. 

The prisons of Venice were not worse than the 
prisons of other countries at that time. Nor can they 
be justly described as horrible caves, a few hand- 
breadths wide, below the level of the water, where the 
prisoners were left to rot, buried alive and dying of 
hunger, anguish, and torment. 2 Nor were prisoners 

1 Fulin, Studl nell' Arch, degli Inq. di Stato, p. 70. Venezia, 1868. 

2 This is a subject which has been exaggerated, painted in sombre 
colours by writers either ignorant or intentionally malicious. It is not true, 
as is often affirmed, that no one ever left the Pozzi alive. In 1746, for 
•xample, the Greek priest, Pietro Gladovich, at the age of eighty, left the 
Pozzi in perfect health after forty years of close confinement. (Arch, di 


worse treated than was customary at that time in 
other States. 1 Prisoners of war and State prisoners 
were kept apart from prisoners for theft, murder, or 
petty crimes; 2 and the Republic itself besought Pope 
Urban V. to grant indulgence to those who had given 
alms to prisoners. Prisoners were visited once a 
month by the Chiefs of the Ten ; as a rule they were 
not chained ; they were protected by the avvocati del 
carcerati ; if they fell ill, they were sent to hospital. 
They were allowed daily exercise in the corridors. In 
1 59 1 the Confraternity of the Crucifix was founded at 
San Bartolomeo, which collected alms to assist and to 
liberate prisoners; 3 while, as early as i^n, there 
arose another Confraternity at San Fan tin, under the 
title of Santa Maria della Giustizia, or delta Buona 
Morte, with the pious object of comforting and accom- 
panying to execution those condemned to death, and 
of giving their bodies decent sepulture. 4 

Stato, Inquisitori di Stato, Lett, di Prow, in Dalmazia e Albania, Busta 
47. O. 277.) 

1 A German traveller of the Quattrocento, Fra Felice Faber of Ulm, in 
liis Imok. Evagatoruan Terrae Sanctae, Arabiae et tt<jyi>ti (Stuttgartiae, 18^9, 
the part that concerns Venice has been translated 1 > y \ ineenzo Lazari, 
Venezia, 1881), makes the following comparison between the prisons of 
Venice and of Germany: "ISon solum autcin pietatem exhibent his qui 
digni sunt, ted et illis qui severae justitiae summas incurrunt. Carceres 
enim reorum sub deambulatorio palalii sunt contra publicam plateam re- 
Ipectum habentes, patentibus fenestris lucidi, quae ferreis cancellis sunt 
clausae, per quas captivi respicere possunt et manus extendere et cum astan- 
tibus colloquium habere et si sunt pauperes cloemosynam a transeuntibus 
petere possunt. . . . Verumtamen pro enormibus excessibus qui morte plec- 
tendi sunt, in carceribus detinentnr arctioribus, tolerabilibui tamen. Inter 
multas crudelitates Teutonicorum est ista una, quod reorum carceres sunt 
inhumani, terribiles, obscuri, in profundis turrium, humidi, frigidi, et non- 
nunquam ■erpehtibuj et bufonibus plenis, longe ah hominibus sequestrati. 
Bet alicpiis accedit consolator ad miseros illos, nisi tortores crudelissimi qui 
terrrant, minantur et torqueant. Aliam pietatem exhibunt Veneti reis, 
etiam morte plectendi, consumunt enim eos brevibus penis." 

' l Cecchetti, Delle leggi della Rep. Ven. sulle carceri (in the Atti dell' 
Ateneo Ven., Ser. II, Vol. Ill, p. o5. Venezia, 1866). 

8 Sagredo, Patronato carcerati in Venezia, etc. (in the Memorie dell' 
I. R. Istituto Veneto di 8. L. A., Vol. MI, 1861). 

4 The Scuola di Santa Maria della Giustizia was fused with the 
Scuola di San (iirolamo in i/j58. It first of all had its meeting place in 

The Bridge oe Si 


Historical research has dissipated the fearful phan- 
tasms created by popular fancy and by a spirit of hatred 
against the oligarchy. The tales of innocent victims 
sacrificed to the dread power of the nobles are pure 
inventions. No doubt, since error is common to man, 
justice in Venice was not immune ; but it is not true 
that in Venice more than elsewhere were the innocent 
put to death. The story of the povaro Fornareto, Pietro 
Fasiol, a young baker's boy who was unjustly con- 
demned in i5o7 on the charge of having murdered 
a noble, is pitiful, no doubt ; but as we find no traces 
of the trial in the Quarantia Criminate, nor in the 
Diaries of Sanudo, who never omits the minutest de- 
tails, we may conclude that the whole tale is a popu- 
lar myth, as is the legend that before pronouncing 
sentence the court was reminded of the episode by the 
formula recordeve del povaro Fornareto. It is also said 
that the two lamps lit every day at Ave Maria before 
the image of the Madonna on the facade of San Marco 
that looks towards the Piazzetta, were lit in expiation 
of the unjust execution ; as the money for maintaining 
these lamps came from a fund in the mint, it is more 
likely that they were placed there by some mariner as 
an ex voto for rescue from shipwreck. 

But if Venetian justice was purer than elsewhere, 
it cannot be denied that it was remarkably severe, as 
indeed it was throughout Europe at that time when the 
criminal code was still barbarous. Besides imprison- 
ment there were harsher punishments, such as the 
galleys and outlawry, with the right to kill the outlaw 
if he broke his bounds. Serious crimes of ecclesiastics 
were punished by the cheba, or cage of wood, hung 
half-way up the campanile of Saint Mark, in which 
the delinquent was exposed to the severity of the 
weather and the insults of the mob. This punishment 

a house at San Fantin, which was afterwards rebuilt in the seventeenth 
century by Alessandro Vittoria and is now the seat of the Ateneo Veneto. 


was abolished in the sixteenth century, but for assas- 
sination and theft there still remained the berlina, a 
stage erected between the two columns of the Piazzetta, 
on which the culprit was pilloried before the crowd 
with a list of his crimes pinned on his breast. 

The harsh manners of the times induced a sort 
of equation between the enormity of the crime and 
the cruelty of its punishment, and at Venice we find 
torture, generally recognised as a necessary expedient 
in criminal procedure, flogging, branding, mutilation, 
blinding, asportation of the tongue, breaking on the 
wheel, and the punishment of death by decapitation, 
by hanging from the windows of the Palace or between 
the columns of the Piazzetta, or by strangulation in 
prison, or by drowning. Sometimes a pyre was raised, 
but never for religious or political crimes. 

That grave crime merited severer punishment was a 
doctrine inherent in the spirit of the age and in public 
opinion. Marin Sanudo describes with horrible par- 
ticulars the punishment inflicted on some young nobles 
in i5i3. One of these, a Molin, was condemned to be 
felled by the hammer ; he fell under the blow, and the 
executioner, thinking him dead, proceeded to hang 
another of the condemned. "Ma in questo mezo," 
says the diary, "ch'el apicoe questo, el Molin si voltoe, 
e non era morto et vardava apicar el compagno. E 
subito il boia venne zoso e li dete ancora di la manara 
et morite." Sanudo adds: " Et compita qucsta jus- 
titia, tutti li piaque." 1 That same year, i5i3, a priest, 
Bortolo da Mortegliano, who had treacherously opened 
the gates of Marano in Friuli to the Imperialists, was 
condemned to death ; the executioner felled him after 
several blows with a hatchet, and thinking him dead, 
proceeded to hang him on the gallows. "E ligato si 
vete esso prete non esser ancor morto et moveva le 
gambe ; wide tutti chi li era apresso comenzono a trarli 

i Sanudo, Diart, XVII, 4a, 43. 


saxi a la volta di la testa et di la persona, et cussi come 
li zonzeva, cussi esso monstrava resentirsi ; pur tanto li 
fo trato che a la fin . . . morite ; sicche credo sentisse 
una crudel morte." And then our good Sanudo adds : 
" Et cussi fini la vita sua come el meritava." 1 Those 
who were guilty of atrocious crimes or sacrilegious 
theft were taken along the Grand Canal from San 
Marco to Santa Croce, stripped to the waist and tor- 
tured with red-hot pincers ; from Santa Croce, after 
losing their right hand, they were dragged at a horse's 
tail for a bit, then were taken to the Piazza, where, 
between the two columns, they were decapitated and 

But secret means occasionally adopted for the sup- 
pression of enemies must rouse in every honest mind 
far greater repugnance than any we can feel toward 
legal punishment, however terrible and cruel. The 
interests of the State were allowed to override all con- 
siderations of natural or moral obligation, and the gov- 
ernment did not shrink from having recourse to the 
dagger or to poison employed by highly paid assassins. 
It would, however, be manifestly unjust to maintain 
that poisoning and assassination were the common 
practice of the Venetian government in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries ; 2 such crimes but rarely stained 
the rulers of Venice ; moreover they were common to 
the other States of Europe, nor did the most upright 
statesmen shrink from them if the welfare of their 
country was at stake. We may cite one significant 
instance. Sebastian Venier, admiral of the fleet, one 

1 Sanudo, Diart, XVIII, 48. 

2 In i8o,3 Count Mas Latrie, renewing his attack, published in 1871 
(Bibl. de I'Ecole de Chartes, T. XXXII, pp. 34o-378) and in 1881 
(Archiv. de ['Orient Latin, T. I, pp. 653-o6a), read before the Acadimie 
des Inscriptions et belles lettres (T. XXIV) in Paris a paper on L'em- 
poisonnement politique dans la re'publique de Venise. Vladimir Lamansky has 
brought similar charges against Venice in a book entitled Sicrets d'dtat de 
Venise (Saint Petersburg, i884). 


of the noblest characters in history, found himself, in 
1 57 1, olT Santa Maura with his squadron; he seized 
the Voivode of Dragomestre in Lividia, a hateful tyrant 
who seriously injured Venetian interests, and without 
more ado had him poisoned and thrown into the sea. 1 
If men who in every other walk of life were upright 
and honourable held that any obstacle in the path of 
the nation's progress must be ruthlessly and remorse- 
lessly removed, it is clear that the State itself would 
certainly be guided solely by considerations of advan- 
tage, and would not shrink from treacherous and cruel 
violence in the interests of the country, especially at 
an epoch in which both poison and the dagger were 
weapons common to all races. 

We are not concerned to excuse the errors of our 
fathers, as Fulin justly observes, but all the world 
knows that certain iniquitous expedients were not ex- 
clusively confined to the Republic, especially in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 2 Documents newly 
come to light prove that Francis I wished to assassi- 
nate Clement VII. The faults of others are no excuse 
for our own, but it is matter of common knowledge 
that a dreaded foe, if he could not be bought or crushed 
by arms, was exposed to hidden dangers in Venice as 
elsewhere. If the custom of the period excluded that 
sense of pity which ought to accompany chastisement, 
we must, however, insist that Venetian justice never 
wittingly struck down the innocent and never served 
private ends ; nay, rather the rigidity of Venetian law 
affords an example which we may call unique rather 
than rare, and was no respecter of persons ; powerful 
protection and illustrious lineage were alike impotent 
to alter its decrees. The case of Gaspare Valier is no 
isolated instance. In i5n he was condemned to death 

1 Arch, di Stato, Lett, del Cap. Gen. de Mar ai Capi dei X (1500-1691) 
Busta 3oi. 

2 Fulin, Errori vecchi c documenti nuovi. Vcnczia, 1882. 


for the murder of a custom-house officer at Treviso, 
who had denounced the patrician for contraband. His 
name, his noble blood, his youth, his beauty, roused 
the pity of the Venetians. The first to implore a 
pardon from the Ten was the patriarch Antonio Con- 
tarini, et fo mandato via dicendo, la deliberation dil con- 
sejo di X si conveniva exeguir ; then many patricians 
spoke in vain in favour of the condemned man ; finally, 
the three Avogadori, Giovanni Trevisan, Piero Con- 
tarini, and Nicolb Dolfin, presented themselves and im- 
plored that the execution might at least be postponed. 
The stern judges replied thus to the tender-hearted 
Avogadori : Non siete pia degni di questo magistrato 
perhb levative saso — e cassi si levono tatti tre et andono 
a casa Ihoro, et fo preso di privarli in perpetuo di 
avogadori . . . et vien dito pocho mancoe non fossero 
conjinati. 1 

Every Venetian, however noble, was obliged to bow 
before the rigour of the law, and the praise bestowed 
by a French poet, Audebert, is in no way exaggerated 
when he says : 

Nobilibus, populoque bumili favor omnibus idem : 
Nil fumosa valcnt antiquae stemmata gentis ; 
Nil, nisi maiorem quod maior poena coercet. 2 

The government also understood quite clearly that 
arms no less than justice were to be reckoned among 
the fundamental bases of the State, and that freedom 
and independence are conditional on the proper dis- 
position of the military power and on the formation of 
the army as an integral portion of the State ; and as a 
fact, Venice alone preserved the prestige of Italian 
armies, fortifications, fleet. All through Venetian his- 
tory we find the government augmenting the fleet 
which served to protect Venetian commerce and to 

i Sanudo, Diari, XII, i3 7 , 186, 188. 
2 Venetiae, Lib. III. 


defend Venetian maritime possessions, while forming a 
powerful bulwark against the insolence of Ottoman 
pride. Every attention was bestowed on the arma- 
ment. In 1/190 the office of Sopraprovveditori all' 
Arsenate was created, and in 1/497 the Provveditorl ed 
esecutorl delle cose mar it time, who shortly after took 
the title of Provveditore all' armar, and in i545 the 
Collegio alia milizia da mar, in whose deliberations the 
Provveditori air armar, two Patroni alV Arsenate, two 
Provveditorl ai biscolti, and one Provveditori all' Arli- 
glieria took part. The arsenal was enlarged in 1^73 
by the addition of the arsenate novissimo, in i53o, by 
the riparto alle galea:: c t and in 1579 DV tne ro P e 
walk, or Tana, 3i6 metres 62 centimetres long. 

The most arduous naval operations were undertaken 
by the Venetians. For example, in i/13q they actually 
had the courage to drag vessels of war across valleys 
and mountains and to launch them on the lake of 
Garda to fight the Visconti. The most perfect naval 
machinery known to those days was in use among 
them ; for example, in 1/498 a vessel sank near Cigalla, 
and the Genoese naval engineers proving incapable of 
recovering it, they called in a Venetian named Niccolo 
de le Taglie, who raised the vessel and brought her 
into port. 1 Every new invention was carefully fostered, 
and in 1529 the government granted the use of an 
enclosed building yard to Vettor Fausto for the con- 
struction of his famous quinquereme. 

In addition to the ordinary squadron and the galleys 
which, in case of war, many islands and citit 
Dalmatia and the Levant were bound to furnish, a 
squadron of one hundred light galleys was always kept 
in readiness against a surprise attack. This reserve was 
under the supervision of the office of the Milizia da mar, 
whose duty it also was to enroll every two years all 
Venetian subjects fit for naval service from the age of 

1 Arch, di Stato, If. C, Stella, p. i53 t° (June 1, 1A98). 


eighteen and upwards. 1 The Dogado and Istria yielded 
a large number of seamen. In case of need the main- 
land could furnish twelve thousand oarsmen. 2 The com- 
mand of the fleet lay with the Provveclitore generate da 
Mar, who resided at Corfu, the Provveditore d'armata, 
the Capilano Generate del Golfo, the Governatore dei 
condannati al remo, the Capilano, the Almirante, and 
the Patron of the various ships, the Sopracomiti, and 
the Nobili, young patricians who, by a decree of the 
State, were bound to serve on board. In time of war 
a patrician was appointed to the supreme command. 
Lepanto, where many a noble sacrificed his life for his 
country and his faith, gave a brilliant proof that the 
Venetian patrician was ready at a moment's notice 
to abandon the pleasures of the city for the rude 
experiences of war. 

The land forces received a like attention when Venice 
came to expand on the mainland. The Savio alia 
Scrittura, or Minister for War, was entrusted with the 
supervision of the army, which in the fifteenth century 
had a peace footing of ten thousand horse and seven 
thousand foot ; in time of war it was raised to twenty 
thousand horse and an indefinite number of infantry. 3 
The general in command was never a Venetian — an 
arrangement dictated by political considerations — but 
by his side he always had two Senators as councillors, 
or rather as supervisors, known as Provveditori generali 
dell' armata. The Republic always had in its pay not 
only the most illustrious Italian commanders, but for- 
eigners as well ; for example, in the war of Chioggia, 
where we find the Englishman Gold distinguishing 
himself and receiving an annual pension of five hun- 
dred ducats. The Venetians were among the first to 

1 Tentori, Saggio sulla st. di Ven., T. VIII, pp. 297 et seq. Venezia, 

2 Tentori, op. cit., T. II, p. a56. 

8 Gelli, Le ordinanze militari della Repubblica Veneta (in the Nuova An- 
tologia, series III, Vol. LIII). 


arm their forces with muskets, to open shooting ranges, 
and to draw up regulations which, one may say, 
inaugurated the modern system of militia. 

In fortification and in artillery Venice gave to Europe 
the earliest school of engineers and gunners in such 
masters as Michele Sammicheli and Nicolb Tartaglia. 
Venetian fortification, from Verona to Crete, offer the 
earliest examples of bulwarks and bastions ; while the 
Brescian arms factory produced the finest guns in all 
Europe. When cannon came to be developed and 
began to win campaigns, artillery received great atten- 
tion in Venice, and though even down to the sixteenth 
century bowmen, especially on horseback, 1 were still 
employed, gunners began to take their place. It was 
the flourishing guild of bombardiers who commissioned 
Palma Vecchio to paint that picture of their patroness, 
Santa Barbara, which is now one of the chief glories 
of Santa Maria Formosa. 2 

The cavalry arm was composed of stradiotti, bold 
Greek troops, raised mostly in Crete, lightly armed 
with shield, lance, and sword, and of Albanian or 
Slavonian horse, called cappelletti, from their head 
pieces, who were employed to garrison the more ex- 
posed places. 

The cernide, or local militia, employed for skirmish- 
ing and sacking, were first raised in 1507, when 

1 "Ha abudo scmpre ct in qualunquc tempo questo stado grandc cura 
et diligcntia de tcnir in colmo, prima lo esercitio della Balh-stra, subsc- 
quente dell' arco per el frequente uso dc quelle- ct per la habilita chose ha 
in adoperar qmllo." Arch, di Stato, Cons. X., August 1 3, i5o6. 

2 The Guild of Bombardiers own bouses at S. Francesco della Vigna. 
On October 3i, i5oo, they founded a Scuola, under the protection of Santa 
Barbara, in a building near Sant' Andrea, but on December ia, i5oo, they 
moved to Santi Ermagora e Fortunato, where they hired a little house 
under the dwelling of the parish priest. In i5o5 they moved again to 
Santa Maria Formosa, where the priest, Michele di dementi, gave them 
domunculam subtus domwn suam, positam ad pedem planum, penes pontem 
lapideum. This house, which is at the foot of the ponte dellc Bande, wa* 
rebuilt in i5q8. Bianchini, La chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa, p. 3i. 
Vcnczia, i8qa. 


Lattanzio Bonghi, of Bergamo, was charged to muster 
six thousand infantry from among the peasantry. The 
new troops bravely defended Roveredo and Riva against 
Maximilian, and fought victoriously under Alviano in 
Gadorc. The Senate then resolved to raise this militia 
to the strength of ten thousand men. The new levies 
quickly became expert in the use of arms, and vied in 
courage with the regular troops, the provvisionali, while 
they surpassed them in discipline and were employed 
to garrison the city. 1 In time of war the land army 
was augmented by levies from all parts of Italy, by the 
loyal Dalmatians, or Sclavs from Garnia, troops from 
the frontiers of Dalmatia, Montenegrins, Groats on 
horse, Morlachs, and Swiss. These mercenaries, raised 
by various officers, sometimes wore the colours of their 
captains; in i5oc), from the villages of the Trevisan 
territory, furono, cavati milk soldati vestili di panno ver- 
miglio e bianco, ch'era la livrea dell Alviano. 2 

The varying fortune of war never at any moment 
in her history shook the deliberate calm of the Venetian 
Senate ; even in the dark days of the siege of Ghioggia 
they found time to discuss the reform of the monetary 
system. 3 

In appearance we find nothing but the aristocracy, 
proud, strong, and overbearing, at the head of afFairs, 
decreeing peace or war. But the lower orders did not 
languish ; nay, they frequently acquired vast wealth, 
and were both content and obedient. 4 The popular as- 
sembly, the arengo, was abolished in 1^21 ; the name 
of the popolo disappeared from public acts in 1/162, 

1 CelH, op. cit. 

2 Bonifacio, 1st. di Trivigi, pag. ^92. Venezia, 17^4- 

8 Arch, di Stato, Senato, Misti, Reg. 36, fol. 74, from April 26, 1879, 

4 In a very rare tract by Daniel Ritio, called the Piasentino printed in 
1 585, a copy of which is in the British Museum, we find the following 
popular saying: 

Gentil huomini e ricchi sono 
Venetiani populo bono. 


and the formula Dominium or Signoria was substituted 
for Commune Venetiarum ; the Libro d'oro, created in 
i5o6, gave sanction to the rights of the patrician caste, 
and rendered admission to the Great Council more and 
more difficult. But the aristocracy, though jealous of 
its privileges, did not suppress the development of the 
people, and we find examples of men of humble and 
obscure birth rapidly acquiring great riches. The case 
of Bartolomeo Bontempelli was by no means unique. 
He came from Brescia in the middle of the sixteenth 
century, and opened a mercer's shop at San Salvatore, 
at the sign of the Cup ; he amassed a fortune, started a 
bank, and advanced loans to princes, dukes, and kings. 
Bontempelli built an altar in San Salvatore, restored at 
his own charges the church of the Convertite on the 
Giudecca, gave thirty thousand ducats towards the 
hospital of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti, and left by his 
will another hundred thousand ducats to the same 

The wealth acquired by industry and commerce in 
Venice constitutes a title to fame ; and she won for her- 
self a high place in the economical as well as in the 
political history of nations. The people developed its 
vigorous life in the guilds of the arts and in the reli- 
gious confraternities, and it was only the dregs of 
the population that Avere not enrolled in some one 
of these societies. Paupers were rare, and for these 
the government made wise provision, not by degrad- 
ing charity, but by such regulations as the follow- 
ing ; for example, that to those Venetians i quali per 
Vetade non puossono piu navegar shall be conceded the 
right to sell provisions per la suslentation de la so 
vecchiezza e dela soa povera famegia, while the young 
shall go to sea et despensar i so anni in mare, come ha 
fatto i so padri et progenilori. 1 Beggar lads were sent as 
cabin boys on board the galleys or as apprentice hands 

1 Arch, di Stato, Cons. X, law of i443. 


to some master craftsman. The historian Doglioni 
remarks that ' ' Poche citta puono eguagliarsi alia citta 
di Yenetia nella pieta et nel mantenir con l'elemosine 
i poverelli et specialmente che si ritrovano ne' luoghi 
dedicati ad opere pie." There were the hospitals of 
the Pieta for foundlings, the Incurabili, San Giovanni 
e Paolo for less serious cases, San Pietro e Paolo for 
accidents, the Convertite for fallen women, the Zitelle 
for girls, the Soccorso for married women who wished 
to give themselves to religion, and so on. "Et tutti 
quanti li detti luoghi," says Doglioni, " sono con poca, 
o con nulla rendita d'entrate, b beni ; et con tutto cib 
han d'avantaggio per sostentarsi ben commodi ; et tutto 
viene, et a loro si somministra dalla carita de' Venetiani, 
i quali per l'amor di Christo si lieuano ben spesso 
dalla bocca propria il pane, et il vino per soccorrere a 
tai bisognosi, con meraviglia d'ogn'uno." 1 

The government, in 1/474, founded a hospital at 
Castello, dedicated to Gesii as a thank offering for the 
relief of Scutari, and at Easter and Christmas made 
generous doles to the poor ; it took care that the public 
granaries should always be full, and every year dis- 
tributed two hundred sacks of flour and two hundred 
loads of wood to the hospital of the Pieta, besides 
obliging the arsenal to furnish a jar of wine monthly 
to that pious institution. 2 But on the whole charity 
was wisely left to individual enterprise and among the 
noble benefactors we may record the patrician Morosini, 
who, in 1/498, built thirty-six houses at Santa Ternita 
for the use of indigent nobles, 3 and the Jesuit Benedetto 
Palmio, who in i558 founded a house at San Marziale 
for young girls in danger of going wrong. In i535 
Bartolomeo Nordio, a Bergamasque wood merchant, 

1 Doglioni, Gio. Nicolo, Venetia trionfante et sempre libera, pp. 27, 28. 
Venetia, i6i3. 

2 Malipiero, Annali Veneti (Arch. Stor. Ital, T. VII, P. II, p. 685. 
Firenze, i844). 

3 Ibid., p. 7i3. 


founded the pious institution known as the Fraterna, to 
supply bread and money to decayed nobles and honest 
poor and to dower poor maidens. Gaelano Thiene 
of \ icenza (born i48o), venerated as a saint after bis 
death, founded the hospital of the Incurabili in i522.' 
This institution was entrusted to the Venetian (lerolamo 
Miani, who alter a tempestuous youth passed in camps, 
gathered together in a house at San Basilio (i5u4) 
stray children, vagrants in tbe streets, and clothed, fed, 
and taught them a trade especially di far brocchette di 
ferro and di far berretfe, 2 anticipating by three centuries 
the beneficent institutions called Kindergarten. Miani 
found further scope for his charitable impulses at the 
hospital for "Derelicts," founded in 1627 near tbe 
church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo by Ser Bartolomeo di 
Marco, advocate, by Ser Alvise, mercer at the White 
Lion, by Ser Bartolomeo Boninparte, and by other 
benefactors, among whom we find the famous surgeon 
Gualtieri. Alter long proof of his charitable zeal in 
the hospital of the Incurabili (l53l), Miani carried his 
pious fervour to other cities, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, 
Brescia, Bergamo, Como, Milan, Salb, and Somasca, 
from which place the order of the Somaschi, founded 
by him, took its name. He died at Somasca in i537, 
and in 17A7 was canonised by Benedict XIV. 3 

The entire energy of the Venetian people was directed 
to one common end, the well-being of their country ; 
active and gay, worldly yet austere, a haven of refuge 
to learned and artisan alike. If the Venetian people, 
at that time in Italia primario c potentissimo,* compared 
their laws with those of other countries, they might 

1 For venereal disease, at that time deemed incurable. 

2 Cicogna, Iscriz., Vol. V, pp. 368, 36g. 

8 Two noble Spaniards visited Venice in 1 537, Ignatius Loyola and 
Francesco Saverio. The spirit of charity in Venice caught fire from the 
example of these two, who laboured at their task of love in the hospital of 
the Incurabili on the Zatlore. 

4 Sanudo, Vite dei Doyi, ed. Monticolo. 


justly hold themselves to be the best governed of States ; 
if they took into consideration the equity of their gov- 
ernment and the gain to be derived from belonging to 
a powerful commonwealth, they must have been con- 
vinced that no other race enjoyed superior privileges. 



THE climate of Venice is no less singular than are 
its history and its customs. Aretino writes : ' ' Dio 
vole che Venetia concorra d'ctcrnita con quel 
mondo che si stupisce come la natura le habbia fatto 
luogo miracolosamente in un sito impossible." ' And 
in truth, amid the roar of the breakers on the deserted 
lido and the howl of the Adriatic storm, a mere hand- 
ful of fisherfolk and traders laid the firm foundations 
of the future power and glory of the Republic. But 
these earliest inhabitants, who in the making of their 
country were forced to wrestle with and conquer the 
hostility of the soil and the enmity of man, did not 
find a foe in the climate, that most deadly adversary 
of all. Vitruvius praises the air between Ravenna 
and Aquileia as most salubrious, and it remained so 
during the early years of Venetian history. But the 
sea, which during the first centuries of the Christian 
era spread from Ravenna to Aquileia, gradually re- 
treated, and owing to the silt brought down by the 
rivers, the land slowly encroached on the water. In 
the same way the rivers bringing down mud and sand 
into the lagoon imperceptibly changed its character, 
and began to create those marshy deposits which in- 
fected the air and filled it with noxious vapours and 

i Aretino, Lcttere, i, p. 2. Paris, 1G09. 


with insects. This deleterious process was most ob- 
vious near the shores of the mainland, where along 
with the mud there flowed into the lagoons those run- 
nels of fresh water from the fields, producing a mix- 
ture of fresh and salt water called in Venetian dialect 
mestizza, the cause of fever. Grado and Heraclea, which 
were built on firm soil, were gradually swamped and 
surrounded by pestiferous marsh lands. Jesolo was 
abandoned on account of the overflowing of the Piave 
and the Sile. Torcello and Mazzorbo began to be silted 
up as early as the thirteenth century, and in the Cinque- 
cento were deserted by most of their inhabitants, the 
bishop taking up his residence in Murano. These 
towns, once prosperous and full of striking monuments, 
were gradually converted into unhealthy swamps, the 
wretched abode of fisherfolk and husbandmen. The 
silt brought down by the rivers or thrown up by 
the sea began to threaten the ports of Venice, and as 
early as the fourteenth century the Venetians initiated 
that salutary operation of diverting the rivers from the 
lagoon and surrounding the estuary with the great 
dyke, which was begun in 1610 and completed only 
during the last years of the Republic. 1 

The injury to the lagoons caused by nature was in- 
creased by the greed of man. In order to enclose their 
fishing and hunting grounds they prevented the free 
circulation of the water by planting piles and wattle ; 
this produced stagnation and the gradual raising of 
the lagoon bed. Cristoforo Sabbadino of Chioggia, the 
great hydraulic engineer, in a sonnet addressed to 
Venice, exclaims : 

Li fiumi, il mare e gli uomini tu hai 
Per inimici. 

For the purpose of preserving the lagoon, regulating 
the course of rivers, and checking the injury wrought 
by man, a commission of three was appointed, in the 

1 Veronese, G., La laguna di Ven., p. 7. Venezia, 1904. 


year i5oi, to supervise this whole subject. In i5o5 
the Water Board was created, and in i54a an hydraulic 
engineer was nominated to watch over this most im- 
portant matter. Giamhattista Egnazio has condensed in 
the following inscription l the wise decree of the Board, 
whose object was to preserve intact the waters of the 
lagoon upon which depended at once the safety and 
the health of the city : 











But seeing that a large part of the land round the 
estuary which had once been dry and under cultiva- 
tion was now reduced to marshy swamp, and the city 
appeared to be girt by a wall of mephitic exhala- 
tions, it was not long before the idea that the city 
itself was unhealthy began to spread. As a matter of 
fact, however, both in Venice and the neighbouring 
islands the air remained quite pure. If the shoals of 
the estuary insufficiently covered by the high tide gave 
off malarious vapours which rendered the neighbouring 
lands uninhabitable, round about Venice itself the ebb 
and flow of the tide kept the water in constant move- 
ment and thoroughly scoured the city. And no sooner 
were the mudbanks laid bare than the inflowing tide 
came to cover them again, bringing with it healthy 
saline airs. The movement of the tide renewed every 
twenty-four hours destroyed all pestiferous vapours and 

1 The epigraph was carved in marble above the stalls of the members 
of the Water Board ; it is now in the Museo Civico. 


penetrated into the innermost canals of the city, which 
from time to time were cleared of mud. Such were the 
causes which contributed to make Venice healthy. 1 

The climate of Venice is one of the mildest in North 
Italy ; the Winter is temperate if compared with other 
cities on the mainland ; the sky is usually clear and 
the rainfall is moderate. There is no dust in the streets, 
nor are they disturbed by the sound of carts and car- 
riages. Strong winds are rare, and when they do blow 
the narrow streets afford a shelter against them. 2 Those 
streets obeyed the rule laid down by Palladio that the 
arteries of a town ■ * non devono riguardare per linea 
retta ad alcun vento, accioche per quello non si sentino 
i venti furiosi e violenti, ma con piu sanita degli habi- 
tant venghino rotti, scarsi, purgati e stanchi." 

For all these reasons Venice is still one of the cities 
of Italy where the register of longevity is highest, 3 and 
where there is no permanent and continuous sickness. 4 

1 Dell' aria et sue qualita, a treatise by Filippo de Zorzi. Venezia, Ram- 
pazzetto, 1596. — Venezia favorita da Dio, etc., by Nicolb Albricio. Venezia, 
Tramontino, 1698. 

2 Namias, Condizioni di Venezia riguardanti la vita e la salute dell' uomo 
(in Venezia e le sue lagune, T. II, pp. 263 et seq.). 

8 Lodovico Testi, the Modenese doctor, who came to Venice about the 
middle of the seventeenth century and there carried on his profession, wrote 
a book, entitled Disinganni overo ragioni fisiche fondate su I'autorita e esperi- 
enza, che provano Varia di Venezia intieramente salubve (Golonia, i6g4)- 
The pretext for this publication was a letter of Antonio Vallisnieri, in 
which the celebrated physician of Reggio states that there are in circula- 
tion certi vani sospetti about the healthiness of the Venetian atmosphere, 
fondata in mezzo delle paludi. Testi holds that no other city is as healthy 
as Venice, and to support his thesis he cites instances of longevity. In the 
parish of San Gassiano alone, where Testi lived, among a population of 
twenty-five hundred souls there were twenty-three hale and sound persons 
above the age of eighty ; two had reached the age of ninety-five. Testi, 
however, leaves us sceptical or malicious when he asserts that an old man 
of eighty left his wife with child, and that another, who was left a widower 
at seventy-six, married a young wife and begat many children, one of 
whom reached eighty-one and another eighty-three. 

4 A physician very famous in his day, Tomaso Rangone of Ravenna, 
who placed an effigy of himself in bronze by Jacopo Sansovino above the door 
of S. Giuliano, wrote a book called De vita hominis ultra CXX annis protra- 
henda (Venetiis, i553). Rangone published some passages of his book in 
Italian ; in these he treats Delia natura dell' aere, dell acqua, dei cibi, delle 


If in the past the city was ravaged by frequent and 
terrible attacks of plague, that must be attributed to 
ignorance of the primary measures of precaution and 
of the laws of public health ; while the constant con- 
nection with the East gave every opportunity for the 
attacks of the epidemic, which more than forty times 
devastated the city between the tenth arid the sixteenth 
centuries. But although the rules of hygiene were 
unknown, the government never omitted to study the 
best methods for extinguishing the disease, and en- 
deavoured to safeguard the public health by appointing 
sanitary officers and by passing wise laws. The three 
Provveditori della salute della Terra, appointed in i348, 
were supplemented in i£68 by two inhabitants of each 
sestiere, while the whole Board of Health was reorgan- 
ised in i485. Moreover, as early as 1/423 the Republic 
had converted the island of Santa Maria di Nazaret, with 
its church and hospital for pilgrims, into a lazzaretto 
for infected persons and goods. The food, medicine, 
and medical attendance were supplied out of the salt 
revenue. This was the first institution of its kind in 
Europe, and it is the common opinion that the word 
lazzaretto is derived from Nazaret. During the plague 
of 1676 another lazzaretto was opened on the island of 
Sant' Erasmo. 

In fact, Venice was never lacking in courage, fore- 
thought, and care, when attacked by the plague ; and 
if errors were committed they are to be attributed to 
the prejudices of the people, always convinced that 
precautions were useless, and more inclined to put its 
faith in penance, fasting, and sackcloth than in sanitary 

malattie, etc., in Venice. Among the many causes of sickness in Venice 
Rangone enumerates sexual gluttony, sedentary life, violent 

changes of temperature to which the patricians are especially exposed, for 
alter sitting for long shut up in the chambers of the Ducal Palace, they 
come out into the open air, which is very chilly, and expose themselves to 
the winds in the piazza, at Rialto, in the canals, and in their gondolas, 
especially at night when they go out in search of pleasure. 


regulations and medicine. The popular muse interpreted 
popular prejudices and sang : 

Che miedeghi de Padoa 

Che cercar prime cause 

Che defensivi e pitime 

Che empiastri onguenti e pirole? 

Le xg cose superflue 

Che no relieva un pulese, 

Fazzasse penitentia 

Con dezuni e vegilie 

Con sachi e con cilicij. . . . 

Pero chi rege e modera 

In temporal e in spirito 

Questa Cittade amplissima 

Senza respetto minimo 

Indrizzi per giustitia 

Verso di Dio humilissima ; 

Ch'altra strada non vedessi, 

ISe altro ri medio salubre 

A placar 1' ira accerima 

Del gran motor di seculi. 1 

Sometimes the men of science themselves — the 
miedeghi da Padoa — contributed to the spread of the 
disease by denying the existence of contagion, as for 
example at the beginning of the plague of 1576 which 
was to sweep away fifty thousand persons, when the 
two Professors of Medicine at Padua, Girolamo Mer- 
curiale and Giovanni Capodivacca, summoned by the 
Republic, gave it as their opinion that the disease was 
serious but not contagious. 2 On all occasions, how- 
ever, the doctors proved loyal to their duties and cour- 
ageously approached the beds of the sick ; we have an 
illustration in the case of the physician Pietro da Tos- 
signano of Faenza, who, in the Fasciculus medicus, 
published in the vulgar tongue and with pictures in 
Venice in i/io3, 3 is represented visiting a plague patient. 

1 Versi inediti sulIa peste del 1575-1576, pub. by A. Pilot. Venezia, 

2 The same happened in i63o, when thirty-six professors, among them 
the celebrated Santorio, declared that the disease was not the plague. 

8 Fasciculus medicus Ioannis de Ketam printed at Venice under the follow- 
ing title : Incomincia el dignissimo fasciculo de Medicina in volgare il quale 


Later on, without abandoning the care of the sick, the 
doctors adopted a curious device to avoid contagion ; 
Grevembroch has left us a sketch of this strange 

Medicine was an honourable profession, 1 and, con- 
sidering the times, wa6 well advanced, especially in the 
branch of anatomy, so much so that Alessandro Bene- 
detti proposed to erect an anatomical theatre. 2 We have 
an indication of the height to which surgery was carried 

tracta. . . . Qui finisce el fasciculo de Medicina vulgarizzato per Sebas- 
tiano Manilio Romano, E stampito per Zuane et Gregorio cli (irogorii. Nel 
MGGCCLXXXXIII adi. V. Februario in Venexia. ISel fasc. 11 si legge: 
Consilium clarissimi doctoris domini Petri de Tausignano pro pestr evitanda. 
The Due de Rivoli (Bibliographie des Livres a Figures Vinitiens, p. 108. ed. 
Techener, Paris, MDCCCXCII) : "grand bois de page: un Lomme nu, 
dans l'attitude dela souflrance, couche sur un lit eleve, le dos reposant sur 
un large coussin, le corps couvert jusqu'au buste, les bras nus hors des 
couvertures. Derriere le lit, trois femmes, l'une arrangeant le drap, 
l'autre portant un ecuelle, la troisieme vue de profil. Devant le lit, le 
mddecin tatant le pouls du malade et aspirant une eponge qu'il ticnt a sa 
bouche; a gauche, un jeune cavalier, elegament vetu, tenant une longue 
torche ; a droite un autre jeune homme, portant d'une main une torche, do 
l'autre un panier d'osier. A terre un chat. Le texte du verso nous 
apprend que cette planche repr^sente un pestifere soigne par Tausignano." 
Pietro da Tossignano, so called from his birthplace near Faenza, was sum- 
moned by Francesco da Carrara, Lord of Padua, to read medicine in that 
city. He returned to Bologna, and died about i4oo. Fantuzzi, Scritt. 
bolognesi, VIII, no. 

1 Fioravanti (Specchio di scientia, p. i3. Venezia, MDCLXXIX) 
" oggidi (i.e. 1671) in Venetia la Medicina c tanto florida et molto bene 
intesa . . . (Medici) in Venetia ve ne sono forsc in maggior eceeltenza, 
che mai sieno stati per l'adietro, tra quali ne sono alcuni, che se Galeno 
tornasse al mondo, non gli cederebbero ne di scientia, ne di pratica, come 
Decio Bello e bono Napolitano, Bonifacio, Montio da Urbino, Agofin 
Gadaldin da Modena, David Galonimos Hebreo, Giovanni Gratavolo il 
Gomasco, et molti altri che i nomi loro non mi reccordo : quai tutti sono 
medici di tanta dottrina et esperienza, che il mondo si stupisce delle loro 
operazioni che fanno." Fioravanti also declares that surgery was far ad- 
vanced. He mentions the Bellobuono, Neapolitans, Francesco d'Attimis, 
Angelo Rizzo, the barbers, Battista di Cesconi and Antonio Bezzuol of 
Brescia, tutti di tal valore chesi pud quasi dire che risuscitino i morti. 

2 Benedetti's proposal was only carried out two centuries later, when 
Lorenzo Loredan left the necessary funds. The theatre and school was 
opened on February II, 1671, in a house at San Giacomo dall'Orio; the 
neighbouring bridge, court, and portico still bear the name dell' Anatomia. 
Tassini, Curiosita Veneziane, pag. 18. Venezia, 1887. 


in the number and elegance of the instruments which 
have been preserved to us in drawings and show a 
perfect union of science and art. In the sixteenth 
century the College of Physicians was constituted, and 
from its members was chosen the Protomedico attached 
to the Board of Health and charged with the super- 
vision of all food stuffs and the isolation of infectious 
cases. The College of Apothecaries was also under the 
care of the Protomedico ; it was divided into phar- 
macists and druggists. In the sixteenth century we 
find upwards of one hundred pharmacists whose repu- 
tation was world-wide, especially for the preparation 
of triaca. 1 

In the midst of incessant combat with nature, in a 
place so very different from all others, there sprang up 
a strong, tenacious, and vigorous people. The per- 
sistent will of man, stimulated by the struggle for 
existence, won its victory over the dangers and difficul- 
ties of the shifty soil, evaded the menace of malaria, 
met the lack of water by an ingenious system of filter 
reservoirs where the rain water was collected, saw to 
the cleanness of canals and streets, and even overcame 
the peculiarities of climate, which by its softness tended 
to enervate the character. The moral and physical 

1 At the sign of the Bear at Santa Maria Formosa preciosi licori for 
healing wounds were concocted. (Fioravanti, p. 19.) Besides this pharmacy 
which helonged to Messer Saba de* Franceschi, the following were also 
famous : the Struzzo in the Merceria, the Carvo in the Frezzaria, the Fenice 
at San Luca, the Dogaressa at San Cassiano. Garzoni (Piazza Universale 
di tutte le professioni del mondo, p. 665, Venetia, MDLXXII) also men- 
tions other signs of apothecaries, for example the ''three swords," the 
" three crowns," "the fir cone," "the angel," "the siren," "the lily." 
" the apple," " the sun." Triaca was much in use, and there was a brisk 
trade in it with the Levant. Distinguished makers were Horatio Zattabella 
spezier all' insegna del Sant' Hieronimo in calle delle Acque in contra de San 
Salvador; Giovanni Battista di Rossi at the sign of the Basilisk in contra di 
San Piero di Castello ; and many others. The shops where triaca was espe- 
cially made were called triacanti; the oldest was at the sign of the Struzzo. 
In the last days of the Republic the Testa d'oro, which still exists at Rialto, 
became famous for its triaca. Dian, Ccnni stor. sulla Farm. Ven., P. II 
(La Triaca), pp. 22, a3. Venezia, 1901. 


qualities of a race are, in fact, modified by the air it 
breathes, and the history of a people is invariably 
moulded by its natural surroundings ; but Venice knew 
how to make its history on its own lines. In Venice the 
mildness of the climate, which encourages sensuality, 
the frequent sirocco, the moist airs, all contribute to 
make the blood run languid in the veins, and loosen 
the muscles and render them unfit for daily strenuous 
toil. 1 Even the external aspect of the Venetians does 
not denote a vigorous race ; the velvet quality and 
Avhiteness of the skin, the softness of the flesh, the 
roundness of the form both in men and women are 
remarkable. 2 But this lack of firmness in the body is, 
as frequently happens, accompanied by a remarkable 
mobility of nerves. As is natural, these physical con- 
ditions are reflected in the character, prone to apathy 
but easily moved by the passions and therefore quick 
to anger and quick to forgive, impulsive in adopting a 
line of action, but of little tenacity in following it. 3 
And yet by sheer strength of will the early Venetians 
succeeded in forming a character not at all in keeping 
with the softness of their native air, but eminently suited 
to the needs of their development, and, mid a perpetual 
struggle with the elements and in the din of arms and 
traffic and activity of all sorts, they evolved a physique 
hardy, active, capable of great fatigue, a spirit both 
bold and tenacious, and a mind receptive of clear and 
precise ideas. This fact explains the rapid degeneration 
of the Venetian race, especially of the patriciate ; for 

1 Andrea Calmo, Lettere (edit. Vitt. Rossi, p. a£o. Torino, 1888), 
says : "A. Veniesia la humiditae de le aque fa vegnir tutti i vechi sbolsi." 
A modern writer, E. Perier (Des stations medicates dans les maladies des 
enfants, p. 27, Paris, 1896), speaking of children, says: "pour des 
climats de chaleur 6gale l'humidite produit une atonic des voies digestives, 
une sorte de torpeur musculaire, une imperfection des depurations respira- 
toire et cutande compens£e par une augmentation de la secretion urinaire. 
On a coutume de dire que les lieux bas et humides favorisent le limpha- 
tisme, le rhumatisme, etc." 

2 Namias, Condizioni di Venezia, etc. 
8 Ibid. 


when effort ceased and ideals disappeared, the soft, de- 
licious, enjoyable nature of their home asserted itself 
and produced a race with all the characteristics of its 

The fear lest the conditions of the climate should 
grow noxious as time went on did not prove strong 
enough to deter the Venetians from adorning their 
home. At one moment, perhaps, in days long gone, 
the drawbacks of their poor and narrow abode did 
weigh upon the minds of some. In 120^, when 
Venice had planted the standard of Saint Mark on 
the towers of Imperial Byzantium, a few ambitious 
spirits turned their thoughts to the enchanted shores of 
the Bosphorus. The nation had formed itself amid 
the hardships of the lagoons, in the splendour of the 
East it might now develop its full vigour, while the 
beauty and harmony of the ancient world might spring 
to life again at the invigorating touch of a youthful 
race who could wed robustness to the refinement of 
Byzantine civilisation. And tradition reports 1 that the 
Doge Pietro Ziani ' ' considerando li grandi e mirabili 
progressi che se avevano fatto in levante, ge venne 
pensiero che se dovesse andar ad abitar in Constanti- 
nopoli, e in quella citta fermar e stabilir il dominio dei 
Veneziani." Before the Council the Doge explained 
how Venice was ever subject to inundations, and when 
the sea withdrew the stench was insupportable. All the 
necessities of life had to be brought from outside ; the 
lagoons yielded nothing but " cockles, crabs, and other 
unclean fish." On the other hand Constantinople was 
a city dotado de tutte le grazie e i doni de Dio. But util- 
itarian considerations were forced to yield to the poetic 
and sacred sentiment of patriotism, which warns even 
the most practical of peoples that a nation does not live 
by wealth alone, but by the spirit and the affections. 

i Mentioned among others by the Cronaca Savina, Daniele Barbaro, and 
Fr. Corner in Creta -Sacra. 


Tradition has incarnated this religion of the fatherland 
in the figure of an old noble of great authority, Angelo 
Faliero, who, replying to the Doge, recalled to mind 
the fact that mid these poverty-stricken lagoons their 
fathers had died and were buried ; that wives and 
children and all they held dearest found their home 
there. He argued that the very desolation of the site 
was the true cause of Venetian power, for owing to it 
they were driven alia suprema principale Indus tria, 
navigation. Then, as an old chronicler relates, Falier 
4 ' rivoltosi verso un imagine di Gesii con molto patetica 
preghiera invoco il suo patrocinio e con le lagrime agli 
occhi smonto dalla bigoncia. Quindi ballottata la pro- 
positione di un solo voto venne deciso, e fu il voto 
della Provvidenza di non fare la proposta emigrazione." 
Of all this the better authorities make no mention, and 
in all probability the whole story is a legend, which, 
however, serves to illustrate the fervid patriotism of 
the better spirits towards their fatherland, already made 
sacred to them by reason of so many struggles, suffer- 
ings, triumphs. This proposal to transplant the home 
of Venice to the shores of the Bosphorus must have 
seemed a crime in the eyes of posterity when the city 
was daily growing in beauty and in wealth. 

The plan of Venice attributed to de' Barbari, the 
plans by Andrea Vavassore called Vadagnino, and that 
by Benedetto Bordone, 1 show us the aspect of the city 
at this period, an aspect which changed but little in 
the following centuries. What did change in obedience 
to the needs of man and the fluctuations of nature 
were the internal streets, which were enriched by new 
buildings calculated to rouse the utmost admiration in 
the foreigner. In i48o a Frenchman, one of the 
many pilgrims who came to Venice to take ship for 

1 Pianta di Giovanni Andrea Vavassore dicto Vadagnino (about th« 
beginning of i5oo). — Pianta in the Isolario of Benedetto Bordone. 
Venezia, i5a8, 


the Holy Land, thus describes the city of the hundred 
isles : ' ' Venise est une belle cite grande comme la moitie 
de Paris . . . Et est la ville plus peuplee qu'on puisse 
gueres veoir . . . et il y a les plus belles bouticles de 
toutes marchandises qu'on puisse gueres trouver . . . 
Sainct Marc est la chapelle de la Seigneurie qui est la 
plus richement paincte que eglise du monde . . . Aux 
festes solemnelles, le grant autel est pare du tresor 
qui est une chose presque inestimable. . . . Apres 
Sainct Marc, les cordeliers (Frari) est la plus belle 
de toutes les aultres et y a les plus belles chaires 
faictes a troys rengees qu'on ne puisse pas trouver. 
. . . La grant place de la ville est nommee Realte. 
. . . Et en icelle place est la plupart des changeurs 
de Venise, et tout autour se vendent toutes aultres 
marchandises tant sur mer qui passe par la rue que 
sur ladicte place." * 

In 1490, when Philippe de Gommines, ambassador of 
Charles VII, entered the Grand Canal and saw the 
palaces either painted by the great masters of the day, 
or gilded, or inlaid with precious marbles, he exclaimed 
as though entranced : ' ' Les gallees passent a travers 
du Canal Grand et y ay veu navire de quatre cents ton- 
neaux au plus pres de maison ; et est la plus belle rue 
que je croy qui soit en tout le monde, et la mieulx 
maisonnee, et va le long de la ville." Then after noting 
the older houses, large and tall, with painted facades, 
and the newer houses with fronts of white marble and 
porphyry and serpentine, 2 he exclaims : " C'est la plus 
triomphante cite que j'aye jamais veu et qui plus fait 
d'honneur a ambassadeurs et estrangiers, et qui plus 

1 Le voyage de la saincte cytS de Hierusalem fait Van IU80, published by 
M. Ch. Schefer (Recueil de voyages et documents pour servir a Vhistoire de la 
g&ogr. depuis le XIII jusqu'a la Jin du XVI siecle, T. II, 1882). 

2 The value of house property in Venice was estimated at 7,o5o,ooo 
ducats, and half a million was paid in rent. Sanudo, Cronachetta, p. 3o, 
says : " Atorno (il Canal Grande) da tutte do le bande, e case de patritii 
et altri, bellissime da ducati 20,000 in zoso." 


soignement se gouberne, et ou lc service de Dieu est le 
plus sollempnellement fait." 1 

Marcantonio Sabellico gives us a still more picturesque 
account ; the pointed spires of the city and the cupolas 
of the churches stand ont against the azure sky and 
the waters of the Grand Canal reflect the palaces ; at 
Hiallo the people throng the shops, the Bankers sit 
under the porticoes, the warehouses display the pre- 
cious studs of the East, and the exchanges are full of 
merchandise of priceless value. 2 

The Milanese Pietro Casola, in his Viaggio a Crru- 
stdemme,* has left us a lively description of \ enice 
towards the close of the fifteenth century. Casola af- 
firms " cITel non epossibiledire ne Bcrivere pienamento 
la belleza la magniiicentia, ne la richeza de Vene/ia," 
and adds that he writes thus " non per captare de 
Veneziani benevolentia, ma per la veritate. ' The 
Milanese writer praises the cleanness of the sheets, the 
grandeur of the buildings, among them the Palazzo 
ducale, the most beautiful palace in Italy, a marvel of 
marble and gold and carpeted chambers and painted 
walls with gorgeous hangings so that a man can never 
take his fill of looking. He then goes on to describe 
the squares, " longhe e spaziose," and the " moltitu- 
dine delle mercadantie," the countless warehouses and 
shops of the cloth merchants, silk-mercers, carpet- 
sellers, dealers in camlet. " Quanto a la abundantia 
de le victualie, per il mio testimonio dico che non 
credo sii in Italia la piii abundante cittade." He is 
almost lost among the crowd of bakers, game and 
poultry dealers, fishmongers, and the profusion of 
wines, muscatels, Greek, Malmsey, and so on. Dur- 
ing his sojourn in Venice Casola visited numerous 

1 Philippe dc Commvnos, Mtmoires, Lib. VII, rap. 18. Paris, 1881. 

a Sabellici, De situ urbis Venetiae (in Thcs. Antiquit. cl Hislor. Italiae, 
V, pt. I, p. 3; Lugduni Bat. MDCCXXII). 

Pietro Casola, Viaggio a Crrusalemme (from the autograph in the 
Biblioteca Trivulziana;, pp. G ct scq. Milano, i855. 


churches and monasteries, and after seeing Sant' Elena 
of the Camaldolesi and Sant' Antonio of the Olivetani, 
San Cristoforo of the Eremitani and San Giorgio 
Maggiore and Sant' Andrea, San Francesco della Vigna, 
Santa Maria dei Servi, the Carita, and so on, after 
admiring the churches of San Pietro, San Marco, 
SS. Giovanni e Paolo, he concludes that not even in 
Rome did he find so many beautiful churches. But 
when he comes to the glass works at Murano, Gasola's 
admiration knows no bounds, and the arsenal seems to 
him to contain all la munitione del mondo per armare 

An anonymous Greek poet writing towards the close 
of the fifteenth century exclaims : ' ' Nessuna terra si 
trova che rassomigli a Venezia ; ... la sua piazza mi 
ha abbagliato." 1 A German traveller, Felix Faber of 
Ulm (i484), shows the same enthusiastic amazement; 
he declares that Venice was the most beautiful of all the 
cities he had visited in Christendom or out of it ; his 
wonder ties his tongue, and he can find no words 
worthy to describe the Doges' Palace and the basilica 
of San Marco, la plus riche e'glise gue je veis oncques — 
to quote Georges Languerant of Mons, a pious pilgrim 
who was on his way to Jerusalem in i/i85. 2 The 
streets were crowded with folk either bargaining in the 
markets, or going backwards and forwards to the ships, 
or working in the shops. " Nel mercato di San Marco 
vedesi tal quantita di legumi e d'insalate, che fa mera- 
vigliare dove tanta ne nasca e chi la consumi, e dicasi 
lo stesso de' pesci, degli uccelli, delle carni, della frutta." 
The patricians of venerable mien walk about in their 
gorgeous robes like so many bishops. Great care is 
bestowed on education ; the government permits no 
insolences ; in the arsenal the colossal character of the 

1 Levi Lionello, Un carme greco medievale in lode di Venezia. Venezia, 

2 Didron, Iconogr. da Palais Dacal (Ann. ArchdoL, 1857). 


work is matched by the rapidity of execution ; every- 
where are to be seen activity and prosperity. " Mirum 
est videre," says Friar Faber in his rude Latin, " rnul- 
titudinem naviuin onerarium continue intrantiuni et 
exeuntium." 1 

In i^97 another German pilgrim, the Ritter Arnold 
von Harff, came to Venice and took up his abode in 
the German Exchange. He thus describes Rialto, where 
• ' per i magazzini pieni di generi preziosissimi e raris- 
siini si pub dire trovasi il tesoro di Venezia " ; then 

Eassing through the narrow streets, with apothecaries, 
ooksellers, etc., on either side, he reaches the church 
of San Marco, splendldissima he calls it, in front 
of which opens out the magnificent piazza, and the 
Campanile rises quadro e allissimo. The tower may be 
climbed by an inclined plane on horseback up to the 
very top ; the Emperor Frederick III did so in i452. 2 
The Palace of the Doges strikes the German traveller 
as bellissimo, but it roused a more enthusiastic admira- 
tion in the breast of Anne de Foix, who saw it in 
i5o2 ; " Le palais de Sainct Marc," she says, " qui est 
l'un des sumptueux ediilices que je veiz jamais. . . . 
La grant salle du diet palays est la plus grante et la 
mieulx enrichie d'or et d'azur que je veis jamais." 3 

In the middle of the sixteenth century Venice aroused 
even greater enthusiasm in her many visitors, among 
whom we may mention the Frenchman Germain 
d'Audebert, who in a Latin poem describes the origin 
of the city, her story, the deeds of the Doges and 
patricians, her naval greatness, her laws, functions, 
sumptuous monuments, and who remains wonder- 
struck before the piazza of San Marco with its 

1 Faber Frater Felix, Evagatorium, loc. cit. 

3 Viaggio in Italia ncl MDXCVI1 del Cav. Arnoldo di Harff di Colonia 
sul Reno, trad, by Alfred von Reunion t (in the Arch. Venelo, T. \1, 
p. 3q4). 

8 Discours war le voyage d'Anne de Foix dans la Seigneur ie de Venise {Bib. 
de I'ficole de Charles, pag. i5o. Paris, 1801). 



tuoo VcipurioFiorcntinoinatulato Man 
do Noao : Nouarocnte Impcefia. 

The Piazza di S. Marco (i5oo) — from " Paesi 
.Novamente Ritrovati" printed at Venice in 
i5i7 by Zorzi de Rusconi 


surrounding palaces, its immense tower, the church 
parium structo de marmore, and the arsenal, in com- 
parison with which the seven wonders of the world 
must pale. 1 

The piazza and piazzetta of San Marco, per sito et 
qualita et pia belo spectaculo of Venice, claimed all the 
attention of the government, whose desire was to render 
them ever more and more magnificent. The Ducal 
Palace, injured by a fire which broke out in Septem- 
ber i4, 1 483, Avas rapidly restored and adorned with 
two noble facades on the courtyard and on the Canal, 
the work of the Veronese Antonio Rizzo, assisted by 
Bregno, Scarpagnino, and the Bergamasque Bartolomeo 
Buono (d. i S29), who is frequently confused with his 
predecessor of the same name, a Venetian who in i443 
undertook the Porta della Carta. In 1577 another fire 
seriously injured the noble pile, but it was soon re- 
stored to its pristine glory. 

In 1/193 Gian Paolo Rainieri and his son Giancarlo 
of Reggio, who in i48i had embellished their native 
city with a great clock and wooden automaton figures, 
were commissioned to execute a similar work for Venice. 
This clock, besides marking the hours, the zodiacal 
signs, the phases of the moon, the month and day of the 
year, has an ingenious piece of mechanism by which, 
on certain festivals, the figures of the Magi, preceded 
by an angel with a trumpet, are made to issue from 
the clock and pass before the Madonna, to whom they 
bow. In 1496 Mauro Coducci of Bergamo built the 
tower 2 to receive this clock, and between 1496 and 
i5i7 Bartolomeo Buono and Guglielmo Grigi of Ber- 
gamo joined to the tower the elegant facade of the 
Procuratie Vecchie. The tower was crowned with a 

1 German! Audeberti, Venetiae, op. cit., Lib. II. 

2 "E sta da principio sto mese de Zugno (i4g,6) a far le fondamente del 
Relogio in piazza de S. Marco sora la Marzeria e costera attorno 6,000 
ducati." Malipiero, Ann., cit., P. II, p. 699. 

VOL. I. — 5 


platform upon which rises a bell ; two bronze figures, 
called i Mori, strike the hours with great hammers. 

At the opening of the Cinquecento the piazza, though 
it had been paved with brick as early as i4o,5, was still 
in part occupied by vines and trees with here and 
there a stone-cutter's yard, and also, quod peius est, 
there was a latrine, where everybody went licentiosa- 
mente a far sporcitie el deposito de scouace. This 
scandal was not to be endured, and Master Giorgio 
Spavento was charged to clear the piazza of shops, 
vines and trees, and latrines, so as to remove all impedi- 
ment in the way of spectacles, festivals, and tourneys. 1 
A year later, on July n, i5o5, the standards of San 
Marco, which on solemn occasions used to fly from 
wooden flags taffs called abbati, were unfurled for the 
first time from the three bronze pedestals, modelled by 
Alessandro Leopardi and now placed in front of the 
Basilica. The standards were painted by Lazzaro 
Sebastiani and Benedetto Diana, who, in addition to 
their pay of 63o ducats, received "el cendado cuxido 
per dicti tre stendardi, cadaun de i qual habia ad esser 
de longeza braza diexeocto et largo tele tredexe." 2 

Jacopo Tatti, called Sansovino, built the church of 
San Geminiano facing the basilica, and raised on the 
piazzetta, on the site of the bakery, the Library and 
that severe building the Mint, at the spot where the 
flesh and the fish markets used to stand. The bakers 
were accommodated in shops at the foot of the Cam- 
panile, and after a fire in lb^lx a new bakery was built 
at the Ponte della Pescheria near the Rio della Zecca. 
Under the Doge Girolamo Priuli (i 559-1667) the piazza 
was again paved, and on September 22, 1569, the Senate 
ordered the removal of all the shops of notaries, den- 
tists, barbers, etc., which clung round the columns of 
the Ducal Palace, and all the benches, boxes, chests, cases 

1 Arch, di Stato, Senato, Terra, Reg. i5, fol. a. March il\, i5o4- 

2 Ibid., Collcgio, Notatorio, a3, fol. i4g. 

Belfry of the Campanile of S. Marco (i5io) 


which encumbered the colonnade of the Palace itself. 1 
But the piazzetta towards the quays was still in 
part occupied by the flesh-market, which disfigured the 
noble site with its refuse. Finally, on September 17, 
i58o, the market was removed to the building where 
the Hostelry of the Lion stood at Santa Maria in 
Broglio, near the Ascenzione. 

In 1 58a the hospital of San Marco, which was 
founded in 977 by Pietro Orseolo, 2 and stood in the 
same line as the Campanile, was pulled down in order 
to build the Procuratie Nuove, designed by Vincenzo 
Scamozzi. The Campanile then stood out in all its 
massive splendour, and in i5io its bell chamber was 
remodelled by Bartolomeo Buono, who added the attic 
and the pinnacle, surmounted in 1617 by a wooden 
angel covered with gilded copper plates, which served 
as a weathercock. The superb tower, 98.6 metres 
high, was frequently injured by earthquake and fire 
and underwent many restorations, notably that by 
Sansovino in i548. 

From this tower Galileo, in 1609, before attempt- 
ing the conquest of the skies, showed to the rulers of 
Venice the wonders of the telescope : ' ' che era di 
banda, foderata al di fuori di rossa gottonada cre- 
mesina, di lunghezza tre quarte y 2 incirca, et larghezza 
di un scudo ; con due vetri, uno cava l'altro no, per 
parte : con ii quale, posto a un ochio e serando l'altro 
... si vide distintamente, oltre Liza Fusina e Mar- 
ghera, anco Chioza, Treviso, et sino Conegliano, et il 
Campaniel et Cubbe con la facciata della chiesa de 
Santa Giustina de Padova : si discernivano quelli che 
entravano ed uscivano di chiesa di San Giacomo di 
Muran, si vedevano le persone a montar e dismontar 
de gondole al traghetto alia Colonna nel principio del 

1 Lorenzi, Monumenti per servire alia St. del Pal. Due, P. I, p. 36i. 

2 The hospital was transferred to the Gampo Rusolo (a corruption of 
Orseolo), now Gampo San Gallo. 


Rio de' Verieri, con molti altri particolari, nclla laguna 
e nella citta veramentc amirabili." ! 

In 1902 the Campanile by its fall overwhelmed the 
graceful Loggetta, designed by Sansovino in i54o. The 
Loggetta was a building of unparalleled beauty ; in front 
was a little platform closed by a marble balustrade ; 
the rose-red facade had eight columns of composite 
order, and in the intermediate niches, four bronze 
statues modelled and cast by Sansovino himself. The 
Loggetta was originally a meeting-place for the patri- 
cians, but in 1 56q it was assigned as the post for the 
Procurator of San Marco, whose turn it Avas to com- 
mand the guard on duty at the Palace during the 
sittings of the Maggior Gonsiglio. 

Passing from the piazza by the street called the 
Merceria, which had da ogni banda bolteghe where tulle 
cosse che si sa et si vol dimandarvi si Irova, 2 one reached 
Rialto, the business centre, the emporium of commerce, 
the meeting-place of shopkeepers and traders. Rialto 
too shared in the general improvement. Hard by the 
great wooden bridge, rebuilt in stone in 159 1 by An- 
tonio da Ponte, — and not, as some would have it, by 
Giovanni Alvise Boldii, — there rose the Fondaco dei 
Tedeschi (i5o5) with its facades painted by Giorgione 
and by Titian, the graceful Palazzo dei Camerlenghi 
(i488-i525), the Fabbriche Yecchie of Scarpagnino 
(i5ao-i522) and the Fabriche Nuove of Sansovino 
(i552-i555). The people swarmed under the porticoes 
of the market; along the fondamenle, by the buildings 
of Scarpagnino, among the benches of the fish-market 
and the baskets and chests of the fruit-sellers, while the 
boats came up to the landings, laden with vegetables 
from the islands and the mainland, the native dialect 

1 From the Cronachcttr of Antonio Priuli, quoted Irv Favaro in his 
Galileo e la pretentazioni del cannocchiale alia Hepubblica Vcneta, pp. i4-i6. 
Venezia, 1 89 1 . 

2 Sanudo, Cronachetta, cit., p. 39. 


flourished in all its freshness and wit. It was to enjoy 
such a spectacle as this that one bright spring morning, 
while the quails were piping, 1 Messer Pietro Aretino, 
whose descriptions never lack the picturesque touch, 
approached the windoAv of his house just opposite the 
vegetable market. 2 " Le piazze,"he writes to Bollani, 
' ' del mio occhio diritto sono lc beccarie e la pescaria ; 
e il campo del mancino, il ponte e il fondaco dei 
Tedeschi ; a l'incontro di tutti due ho il Rialto calcato 
di huomini da faccende. Sonvi le vigne ne i burchi, 
le caccie e l'uccellagioni nelle botteghe, gli orti nello 
spazzo, ne mi euro di veder rivi, che irrighino prati, 
quando a l'alba miro l'acqua coperta d'ogni ragion di 
cosa, che si trova nelle sue stagioni." 3 

Every road, every distant angle of the town, all the 
calles and all the campi^ were alive with pulsing life, 
elegant and magnificent, voluptuous and strong, a dis- 
play of splendour made to dazzle the senses. In the 
port and on the lagoon proudly floated the swift galleys 
with their great lanterns, while gondolas and serenades 
lent an air of gentle mystery to the city. 

At this very heyday of the Renaissance the city 
of Venice made rapid progress towards the completion 
of its singular character under the magic of an art 

1 " Questi goffi uccelli sono apprezzati in Venezia alia primavera ; si per 
udirli cantare e far risonare quei canali con spezzarsi a gara il petto, come 
anco, perche sentendoli tutta la mattina inducono soave sonno." So says 
Gallo in his Le tvedici giornate della vera agricoltura et dei piaceri della villa, 
p. 282. Venezia, MDLXVI. Aretino one morning, on hearing a numher 
of quails on the Grand Canal, improvised the following verses : 

** O ben avventurati voi quagliotti, 
Poiche sete da noi non men pregiati, 
Che i belli et eccellenti pappagalli." 

2 The house belonged to the noble Domenico Bollani, in the parish of 
the SS. Apostoli, and probably was the one at the angle of the Rio di San 
Giovanni Grisostomo. See Tassini, Delle Abitazioni di P. A. (Arch. Ven., 
T. XXXI, p. ao5). 

8 Aretino, Lettere, cit., I, 169. 

4 In the Uffizi is a drawing by Mansueti erroneously given to Gentile 
Bellini, showing us the Campo di San Lio just as it is to-day. 


which was diffused over its buildings and reflected in 
its waters. The open ground of the islands, with the 
green trees, the animals which served for tillage, for 
transport, or for haulage, was gradually transformed 
into an architectural panorama of marble vistas with- 
out apparent foundation, a city without suburbs, with- 
out a setting of fields or hill-slopes, with no other visible 
basis than its own reflection thrown up from the water. 
The paving of the streets and the building of stone 
bridges proceeded rapidly, and necessarily curtailed the 
employment of horses. Thus it came about that in 
Venetian pomp and display the most beautiful of all 
animals, one which usually plays so large a part in the 
life of splendour and of pleasure, was almost wholly 
wanting. Nevertheless during the sixteenth century 
horses were to be seen in the city, and when, in April, 
1 509, the Venetian army was preparing to take the held 
against the allies of Cambray, a levy of horses apti a 
tirar artiglieria was ordered not only in the towns of the 
mainland but also in questa nostra Cilia di Venezia. 1 

More curious still is the following notice which we 
gather from the Acts of the Giudici dell' Esaminador 
under date October i(\, i544 ' " Testimonii esaminati, 
a richiesla di Bartolommeo Malacrea, dai giudici dell' 
Esaminador sulla qualita di un cavallo che trovavasi 
in una stalla a Santa Maria Formosa e che di la 
passo in una stalla a Santo Stefano e che nel passaggio 
da una all'altra stalla fu cavalcato dal suo padrone che 
ci deva delli spironi et baston." 2 The Venetian horse- 
man who had to use whip and spur to his beast to 
bring him from Santa Maria Formosa to Santo Stefano 
reminds us of those luckless cavaliers of the lagoon 
who furnished so ready a butt for the wits of the 
Cinquecento. Baldassare Castiglione, the master of 
refined elegance, wishing to indicate a poor horseman, 

1 Arch, di Stato, Senato, Terra, Reg. 16. fol. 98 t° . 

3 Ibid., Giudici dell' Esaminador, Esami, Reg. 39, fol. 11a t°. 


says he rode alia veneziana ; and Andrea Calmo with his 
mordant wit tells us that when a Venetian got to the 
mainland he would do his very best on horseback de 
tegnir le ponte di pie drio la testiera, in order to appear 
un puoco istraiti in I arte di cavalcaori, 1 though he never 
could succeed in taking any one in. Poggio, too, has a 
story of a Venetian who before mounting removed his 
spurs and put them in his pocket ; and when his beast 
refused to go beyond a walk he gave it his heels, exclaim- 
ing, ' ' If only you knew what I 've got in my pocket 
you 'Id soon change your pace." Bibbiena, Ariosto, 
and Aretino all cut jokes at the expense of Venetian 
horsemanship, and Henri Estienne tells us the story 
of a Venetian who was trying to mount a horse that 
jibbed ; after a bit he pulled out his handkerchief and 
held it up to the wind, and on seeing which way it 
blew he remarked that the horse was not at fault, for he 
had a head wind ; ' * Ce venitien pensoit estre in gondola 
et songoit a Sta-li et a Premi." 2 

From this time onward, in fact, the gondola came 
into more frequent use and became the characteristic 
vehicle of Venice. Some derive the name from the 
Greek kondy, some from the Latin cymbula (a small 
boat) ; a and y being equivalents of c and g, which 
are interchangeable in Venetian, would give the word 
gundula. The origin of the build is certainly antique, 
for we find mention of it in a diploma of the Doge 
Vitale Falier, dated 1094, by which the people of Loreo 
are dispensed from the obligation to furnish gondolas 
to trr Doge : gondulam vero nullam nobis, nisi libera 
vestra voluntate facturi estis. 5 In the thirteenth century 
the gondola was a boat with twelve oars and apparently 

1 Calmo, Lettere, cit., p. i3. 

2 Estienne Henri, Deux dialogues du nouveau langage francois italianizi et 
autrement desguize", principalement entre les courtisans de ce temps, edit. Ris- 
telhuber, Paris, i885. The first edition appeared in 1578. 

3 Orlandini, Giov., La Gondola, a publication per nozze, p. 8. Venezia, 


had an iron beak. It was not till the close of the 
fifteenth and the opening of the sixteenth century 
that the gondola received its coverings of coloured and 
embroidered cloth, the cushioned seat supported on 
curved legs and two little beaks (ferri) at bow and 
stern, called dolfini from their resemblance to those 
animals. Towards the close of the sixteenth century 
there were ten thousand gondolas in Venice ; their 
prows were gilded, and they had little cabins (fehi) 
and cushioned seats of satin or silk, either green or 
purple, adorned with lace and embroidery, and Jerri 
wrought into fantastic shapes, with graceful bosses, 
knobs, and flowers. But in i562 the Senate prohibited 
li fehi da barca di seda el di panno, and all gilded, 
painted, or carved ornament ; and in i584 the Prov- 
veditori alle Pompe decreed that nian barcarol ardischa 
vogar profusely ornamented gondolas under pain of 
pregion, gallea el allro. 6 These boats impegolale el di 
belle forme vogale da neri saraceni o vero altrifamegij, 
cost about fifteen ducats, that is, more than a horse, 
and there was not a noble or citizen who did not keep 
one or two or more at his disposal. No other boat 
could be better adapted to the network of canals, none 
more suited to secret assignations, none lent itself better 
to the fancy of poet and of painter, from Carpaccio, who 
gives us a veracious portrait of the gondola, to Tintoret, 
who made it the subject of one of his strangest, most 
fascinating and voluptuous phantasies. 

1 Orlandini, loc. cit. 



IN Venice of the sixteenth century luxury and splen- 
dour surpassed all bounds ; never before at any 
time nor in any city were religious ceremonies, 
victories, the conclusion of peace, the visits of foreign- 
ers, or the marriages of illustrious personages, cele- 
brated with greater pomp and magnificence. 

In the Middle Ages religious and civil functions were 
united in helping to commemorate the national glories, 
and were frequently accompanied by naval and military 
displays and by gymnastic games, which served to 
develop the physical powers of the nation and to 
strengthen the arm of the soldier and of the oarsman. 
But the taste of the new era called for other spectacles. 
The violence of martial exercises was abandoned ; tour- 
neys, in Avhich the champions wielded battleaxe and 
sword and levelled the lance, gave place to serenades 
and picturesque regattas. The jousts on the piazza 
were gradually converted into feats of grace and skill, 
where the horseman, instead of fighting, splitting hel- 
mets, or ripping coats of mail, devoted his whole 
attention to making his steed amble or gallop, to 
changing hands in the volt, to volting at the trot, and 
to double volts, using his legs to produce the bound 
and the caracole. 

The fifteenth century before its close saw two great 
displays of martial skill. In i486, under the Doge 
Giovanni Mocenigo, the three sons of the General, 


Roberto Sanseverino, the Rossi of Parma, Tuzio Cos- 
tanzo, and other nobles joined in combat on the piazza ; 
and in 1^91, when Caterina Cornaro abdicated the 
crown of Cyprus and was received by Venice with all 
magnificence, some dashing Stradiotti, troops from the 
island of Crete, held a joust on the Grand Canal, 
which happened to be frozen across. 1 

But the games which belonged to the earlier and 
ruder times of the Republic gradually disappeared, 
and in i520, on the festival of Maundy Thursday — 
instituted to commemorate the victory over the Patri- 
arch of Aquileia — the ancient custom of cutting off the 
bull's head was retained, it is true, but the popular 
rejoicings were abandoned perchk non £ decoro della 
Signoria nostra, so ran the decree. 2 All the same the 
desire to lend splendour and solemnity to national 
festivals by coupling them with functions of the 
Church still prevailed. 

At this period in the history of Venice it would 
almost seem as though the native practical spirit of the 
Venetians had changed its direction and had burst out 
in a delirium of enthusiasm, wherein the city appeared 
like a queen in her triumph, surrounded by the very 
acme of sumptuous splendour. The phrases of con- 
temporaries convey to us as it were a faint echo of 
those matchless spectacles. The Milanese Pietro Ca- 
sola, who was present at the procession of the Corpus 
Domini in 1/49/i, finds no words to describe the nobles 
all robed in cloth of gold and velvet, the richness of 
the hangings, the profusion of flowers, the number of 
candles, the play of colour. Marin Sanudo records the 
solemn procession and festival at San Marco, in i5i3, 
in honour of the league against France, and dwells on 
the facade of the basilica hung with standards and 
cloth of gold, — che pareva molto bon, — the interior of 

1 Bembo, 1st. viniziana, Lib. I. Vinegia, MDCCXC. 

2 Arch, di Stato, Misti, Died, Reg. t\6, March 7, i5ao. 


the church magnificently decorated, and the statues of 
the Apostles on the architrave draped in gold and silk. 1 
Preceded by the trombe di bataia and by pipes, the 
Doge, ambassadors, nobles, robed in gold, in crimson 
damask, purple velvet, and scarlet silk, descended from 
the Palace into the church, chefo bellissima cossa. After 
the religious ceremony the procession of the arts and 
crafts took place upon the piazza ; the members carried 
torches and vases, and tabernacles of gold and silver ; 
then came the clergy in their vestments ; and then the 
friars bearing images of Venice and of the King of 
France. In the midst of these solemnities we find, as 
a curious contrast, a certain comic note is introduced ; 
for example, there was a caricature of General Alviano 
on horseback and four children on a platform, i qual 
fengevano de pisar e veniva acqua rosa fuora. 

On receipt of the news that the Turks had been de- 
feated at Lepanto (1571), Venice broke out into music, 
and dancing and rejoicings of all sorts, and while in the 
church of Saint Mark the government were offering 
up thanksgiving, the exchanges of the various nations 
were illuminated, and the porticoes of Rialto, where 
were the drapers' shops, were hung with cloth of gold, 
turquoise, and scarlet, with trophies of Turkish arms, 
and with pictures by Giambellino, Giorgione, Titian, 
Michelangelo, and Pordenone. A great triumphal arch 
was erected at the foot of the Rialto bridge, while every 
window had its flags or carpets, and for three days con- 
tinuously the bells of all the churches rang joy-peals. 
In jubilation for so signal a victory the Carnival of 
1 57 1 was more animated than usual ; the various 
groups of masqueraders, made up of young men 
dressed as Stradiotti, Swiss, Turks, Moors, fishermen, 
gardeners, roused the greatest enthusiasm ; they formed 
an escort to a procession of cars on which were repre- 
sented Faith, Venice, the three quarters of the globe, 

1 Sanudo, Diari, XVI, i^. 


the great Venetian festivals. 1 Shows of this nature, 
which made their first appearance at the beginning 
of the century, 2 received their crowning development 
precisely in this Carnival of 1671 . 

These masquerades were of common occurrence even 
out of Carnival time, at feasts and banquets in private 
houses ; and in the first quarter of the sixteenth cen- 
tury we find them occupying the theatre. They became 
so frequent that between 1^61 and 1607 we meet with 
various decrees forbidding them, eccetto per quel giorni 
del Carnevule, che per I'uso ordinario sono permessi, 3 that 
is, from the feast of Saint Stephen to the first day of 
Lent, with the exception of the feast of the Circum- 
cision and of the Purification. Carnival gradually 
came to be more and more thronged with masquer- 
aders, the principal figures being the magnifico or 
pantaloon as he afterwards became, the Zanni and the 
Matlaccino.* Every one without distinction — noble, 
plebeian, courtesan alike — delighted to slip on the 
mask and to make merry at San Marco or at Santo 
Stefano, pelting each other with eggs filled with scented 
waters. 5 

The ceremony which accompanied the laying of the 
foundation stone of the Redentore, erected as a thanks- 
giving for liberation from the plague of 1677, was 

1 Ordine et dichiaratione di tutta la mascherata fatta nella citta di I 
la domenira di Carnevale MDLXXI per la gloriosa vittoria contra Turchi. 
Venetia, A.ngelieri, 107a. 

- Bertelli in his Diversarum Nationum Habitus nunc primum editi a 
Pe. Bertcllio, T. II, Patavii, i5oi, gives three of these masquerades set 
to music. 

8 Mutinelli, Lessico Veneto s. v. Maschere. 

4 Pantaloon is said to be derived from the name Pantaleonc, which was 
in common use in early Venice. Others say it is a corruption from pianta 
leone — plant the lion — as the Venetians did in the cities and lands they 
conquered. Zanni, according to some, is derived from the ancient form 
Sannio, or Giovanni or Gianni, in dialect Zuane, Zane, Zanni. The 
Mattello, Matterello, or Mattaccino, was dressed in white, with red lacing 
and shoes; he was a kind of clown. See the plates engraved by Giulio 
Goltzius in Io. lac. Boissardus' Habitus Yariarum Orbis Gentium, i58i. 

• Bertelli, op. cit., T. II. 

ieavaU j^or&fuantu&e at/e &rc it n/ursi ' ju 
*iu£ trateaerji f*r$a a auafi i&e 6*re 
Qiaccmo France Forma 

A Carnival Scene — from the 
" Customs" of Franco 


"at n*8e 
Can JPr-ivife. 

an sttfano, 'i tru. 


particularly splendid in the richness of the hangings 
and the dazzling display of colour. The new church 
was to be built on the Giudecca, and Andrea Palladio 
was appointed architect. The third Sunday in July was 
fixed for the function, and on the chosen site a tem- 
porary wooden church was erected. A great bridge 
of boats, 255o feet long and 18 wide, was thrown from 
the piazzetta across to the Giudecca. The Ducal 
Palace, the Library, and the other buildings round San 
Marco were hung with carpets and precious tapestries, 
with gilded shields and pictures and banners. On the 
appointed day the liberation of the city from the plague 
was formally proclaimed from the pulpit of San Marco, 
and the procession began to wind its way across the 
bridge to the sound of bells and of music and to the 
roar of cannon, while a wave of enthusiasm swept over 
the throng. With standards displayed and reliquaries 
and images and crosses carried shoulder high, the 
guilds and confraternities, the magistrates and nobles 
and their ladies, headed the procession. Then came 
the patriarch, Trevisan, in pure white robes, the dean 
(Primicerio) of San Marco, the Armenian patriarch, the 
canons in their rochets, the friars, chanting, under the 
fourteen banners of their various orders, the clergy 
under their eleven banners bearing an infinite number 
of reliquaries and robed in rich copes of cloth of gold 
sewn with pearls. Last of all, accompanied by Senators 
and ambassadors, came the Doge, Sebastiano Venier, a 
noble and dignified figure, clad in white with a great 
mantle of silver brocade hanging from his shoulders. 
A contemporary writes : ' ' Nell' arrivo di Sua Serenita 
al ponte parve disfarsi il mondo perche da l'artiglieria, 
tamburi, trombe e voci di popolo, fu gloriosamente e 
repentinamente percossa l'aria." In the wooden church 
mass was sung to the music of Giuseppe Zarlino, the 
famous master of the music to the Doge. Such >vas 
the first feast of the Redentore, a ceremony still kept 


up to this day with great rejoicing and concourse of 



Venice was resolved that her Prince should be sur- 
rounded by all external marks of magnificence, to 
enhance the respect and veneration bestowed upon the 
office. It was absolutely necessary that the Doge should 
be a person of private fortune in order to maintain his 
state, for the public purse supplied him the insuffi- 
cient income of only twelve thousand ducats a year. 
From the day of his election, when he scattered coin 
among the people, — a custom dating from the reign 
of Sebastiano Ziani, — the government never wearied 
of the ceremonies which greeted the accession of the 
Doge and of the Dogaressa. 

The coronations and processions of the Doge and 
his wife give us a true picture of the city in the splen- 
dour and glitter of festivals which Venetian genius 
rendered ever more and more varied and more magnifi- 
cent. Salvoes of artillery from the galleys, anchored 
in the basin of San Marco, announced the election 
of the new Doge, and they were answered by the 
bells of the whole city. The newly elected Prince 
accompanied by the six Savii who had gone to bring 
him from his private house, went first to the Palace 
and then to the basilica, where he mounted the 
marble tribune to the right of the choir and showed 
himself to the people. After mass had been celebrated 
the Doge swore fidelity to the Constitution and received 
from the Primicerio the standard of the Republic. He 
was then robed in the ducal mantle and borne round 
the piazza, in a wooden pulpit called the pozzelto, by 
eighty arsenal hands, while two bodies of arsenalotti 
armed with long red staves opened the way amid the 
crowds to whom the Doge flung handfuls of gold and 
silver coins. After making the tour of the piazza the 

i Molmenti, Sebastiano Veniero e la batt. di Lepanto, pp. a36 et seq. 
Firenze, i8<jy. 



I)<^t:fr&/ti&rrj/f fr*tx , z# &\$ Alsw t/s*<* rr£S&'6t* ***sr#srJJ. tO&Mto • Mao/nth 


JFr&tHrjr JF^nera .ten J*rit/t£* 


Procession of the Doge — from the "Customs" 
of Franco 


Doge was conducted to the Giants' staircase, where the 
youngest ducal councillor placed on his head the ducal 
bonnet, the Cor no ducale. The ceremony closed with 
a sumptuous banquet, but the people continued to 
celebrate the event for three days more. 

Sometimes popular jubilation broke all bounds, as 
happened at the election of Marino Grimani (i5g5), 
when the exultation was so great that ' ' furono levati 
i Banchi di Palazzo, e Botteghe portate in Piazza per 
la Sensa, et bruggiate, come segui del legno, dove si da. 
la Corda per eccedente allegrezza della Plebe." Large 
doles of bread and wine were made to the poor. The 
new Doge, along with his three sons-in-law and one 
nephew, was carried round the piazza in the pozzetto 
and " gettb molta quantita di danari, che teneva in tre 
bacilli d'argento. La Dogaressa parimente con 3 sue 
figlie gettarono da' balconi di Palazzo buona somma di 
dennari, si che il popolo per molto tempo doppo, ogni 
volta che vedeva, il Principe gridava altamente, ' Viva, 
Viva.' Nelle Piazze la notte sequente furono fatti dal 
popolo gran fuochi che bruggio i Banchi de Tribunali et 
intorno la piazza, e tutto il legname che puote havere." * 

The elections of the patriarchs, the grand chan- 
cellors, and the Procuratori di San Marco, were also 
celebrated with great solemnity, the latter receiving 
from the hands of the Doge a velvet stole, the symbol 
of their office . The commanders-in-chief were accom- 
panied to the Palace by a crowd of nobles, and there 
they were presented to the Prince, who bestowed on 
them the baton of command and consigned to them 
the standard of the Republic. On such occasions the 
shopkeepers in the Merceria were wont to display their 
goods, and the exchange houses were decked with works 
of art, pictures, and carvings. 

1 Garoldo, St. Ven. con I'aggianta (Cod. marc. it. cl. VII. ital. cod. 
1^2, fol. 339). See Pilot, L'elcz. del doge Marino Grimani (extract from 
Pag. Istriane, A. II, fasc. 2. Capodistria, 1904). 


The coronation of the Dogaressa also offered a strik- 
ing spectacle, with its display of handsome liveries and 
sumptuous robes, and the brilliant colours of plumes 
and of stuffs, the flash of arms and of gold. The 
solemn reception of the Dogaressa at the Palace — a 
custom dating from the thirteenth century and the 
reign of Lorenzo Tiepolo — assumed the form of a 
veritable triumphal procession in the following cen- 
turies. In the Quattrocento the consort of the Doge 
made her entry into the Palace escorted by a long train 
of noble ladies, councillors, procurators, secretaries, 
footmen, and grooms ; banners, standards of cloth of 
gold ; pipes and silver trumpets closed the cortege. At 
the door of the basilica the Dogaressa was received by 
the canons, cam li piviali solenni, cieri dargenlo, croce 
el apparali. At the banquet prepared at the Palace 
for the members of the craft guilds there was a pro- 
fusion di tazzoni et fiaschi d'argcnto con bone confecione 
el meglior vini. 1 Even more splendid was the pomp 
which accompanied the coronations of the Dogaresse 
in the sixteenth century. Especially memorable were 
those of Zilia Dandolo, wife of the Doge Lorenzo 
Priuli (i556) and of Morosina Morosini, wife of Ma- 
rino Grimani (1597). At the coronation of Zilia Dan- 
dolo the guilds played a large part. Preceded by 
their wardens (gastaldi) and mace-bearers, with banners 
flying and to the sound of trumpets and drums, they 
marched round the piazza. The Princess then visited 
the chambers of the Ducal Palace, which were hung 
with tapestries, carpets, damask, and cloth of gold at 
the charges of the guilds who were invited to a sump- 
tuous banquet in the Hall of the Great Council. The 
following morning all were presented to the Doge, who, 
after praising the richness and good taste of the guilds, 
especially thanked the wardens and gave them his hand 
to kiss. 

i II trionfo della Dogaressa nel sec. XV. Venezia, tip. Cecchini, 1874. 


At the coronation of Morosina Morosini the guild of 
fleshers erected a high arch near the Ponte della Paglia ; 
it was adorned with figures, ornaments, mottoes, and 
trophies. After passing down the Grand Canal in the 
Bucentaur accompanied by boats fantastically decked, 
the Dogaressa landed at the piazzetta and, preceded 
by upAvards of a thousand youths belonging to the 
various arts, all dressed in silks, she entered the church 
with a joyous throng pressing around her. Thence 
she proceeded to the Palace, where the wardens offered 
their congratulations and good wishes. The rooms 
were all hung by the various guilds ; the barbers, 
tailors, mercers, and bootmakers had brought out their 
most precious tapestries and carpets ; the goldsmiths 
had filled an immense case with silver plates ; the 
mirror-makers had supplied great looking-glasses ; the 
furriers, rare furs ; the armourers, finely wrought 
swords. In this species of industrial exhibition there 
was a rivalry in elegance and good taste and sumptuous- 
ness. Through these chambers with their ceilings 
covered with azure-coloured cloth, their doors gilded or 
silvered, their columns hung with silks and carpets, 
their chairs draped with velvets, and their gilded 
benches, the Dogaressa passed in state ; welcomed to 
the sound of various instruments and served with all 
kinds of comfits, preserves, candies, by members of the 
guilds drawn up in due order before her. 1 

On certain solemn occasions, for some festival of 
the Church or of the State, 2 the Doge left the Palace 
to the sound of the bells of San Marco, surrounded 
by councillors, magistrates, canons, ambassadors, 

1 Molmenti, La Dogaressa di Venezia, cap. VI and VII. Torino, 1887. 

2 For the chief religious and civil ceremonies see Part I, p. 209 of 
this history. 

Among the festivals of the sixteenth century we may mention the visit 
of the Doge to the church of Santa Marina on July 17, to commemorate 
the recovery of Padua in i5og, and to the church of Santa Giustina on 
October 7, to recall the victory of Lepanto. 
vol. 1. — 6 


equerries, etc. Eight standard bearers and trumpeters 
preceded the procession. They are thus described in 
the Ceremoniali : ■ ■ Octo vexilla Imperialia sericea auro 
distincta, cum imagine sancti Marci sub leonis spetie, 
quorum duo priora Candida sunt ; duo succedentia 
celestis coloris, duo tertio loco delata ametisti, vel 
sanguinei, seu subrubi coloris ; ultima duo coloris 
chermesini, seu rubri, et eorum quidcumque crucem 
habet deauratam in superiori parte haste. Sex tubae 
argentee longae quarum cuique pendet signum unum 
sericeum, aureo distinctum, cum insigni peculiari et 
domestico Domini Ducis corona superposita. Duae 
aliae tubae argentee intorte quarum utrique pendet 
signum purpureum, cum D. Ducis insigni, et ties 
tibiae seu ut vulgo dicitur pifari." 1 The standards 
were borne by comandadori in long blue mantles and 
with red caps adorned with a gold medal having the 
imprint of the sequin. Then to the sound of pipes 
came the ducal equerries, the master of the horse, 
the Missier grande, the steward, and the deacon with 
a silver candelabra ; then six canons in copes, two 
ducal factors, four secretaries to the Senate, the ducal 
chaplain, two chancellors and the Grand Chancellor 
between two equerries, one of whom bore a gilded 
chair and the other a yellow satin cushion. A large 
umbrella of cloth of gold, adorned in the reign of 
Giovanni Dandolo (i 280-1 289), Avith a figure of the 
Annunciation (umbrella Domini Ducis in verlice habeat 
Annunciatam), w r as carried by another equerry and pro- 
tected the Doge, who, wrapped in a mantle of cloth 
of gold with a train borne by four pages, solemnly 
advanced between the Papal Nuncio, the Imperial 
ambassador and the other envoys, followed by a noble 
bearing a sword. The cortege was closed by one of 
the Giudici del Proprio, the Procurators, the Coun- 
cillors, the Chiefs of the Quarantia, the Avogadori, 

1 Arch, di Stato, Cerimoniali, T. I, foil. 7, 8. 


the Chiefs of the Ten, the Censors, the Knights of 
the Golden Stole, sixty patrician magistrates, march- 
ing upright, starched, haughty, dressed in velvet and 
damask, and, lastly, soldiers with swords whose pom- 
mels were of gold or silver. 1 The air was alive with 
the clang of arms, the flash of gold and steel, and the 
sound of a moving multitude drunk with exultation. 

The State displayed its utmost magnificence at the 
reception of ambassadors representing great sovereigns 
and nations, not merely in order to maintain its habit 
of splendid hospitality, but that the name of Venice 
might ever be renowned, admired, and feared by 

If a person of consequence announced his arrival, 
the city put on its gala aspect, and the government 
were wont to send an embassy of thirty nobles, chosen 
from among the oldest or the youngest, according to 
the stranger's rank, to meet him. If the guest were a 
king or a great prince or a cardinal legate, the Doge 
himself went in the Bucentaur to receive him. The 
more distinguished guests were usually conducted into 
Venice by way of the sea, the most beautiful and most 
imposing approach. Very often, especially if the 
stranger were a prelate, he would land at one of 
those fair islands that encircle the city and would rest 
at one of the monasteries, San Clemente or Santo 
Spirito. There he would be met by the Doge and 
the nobility. If, for example, the nuncio were a 
cardinal, the Doge was bound to go to San Clemente 
to welcome him ; in the portico they erected sedile 
eminens pro Cardinale et Dace qui pares sedent sab 
strato panno chermesino sea aareo. The Bucentaur 
with the Doge and cardinal, the boats of the nobles 
decked in cloth of gold, — in short, all the triumphal 

1 La processione del Doge nella Domenica delle Palme, a large engraving 
about four metres long, printed in Venice by Matiio Pagan in Fvezzeria al 
segno della Fede (between i55G and 1069). 


pomp of Venice — would then move towards the city, 
where they landed at Saint Marks and entered the 
church, the Doge and the cardinal both sitting in 
eminentiori loco pares. 1 When the nuncio or an am- 
bassador was received in audience at the Palace, they 
first made reverence, and then all the members of the 
cabinet rose and uncovered ; the Doge, however, never 
raised his bonnet except to sovereigns, the princes of 
France, and cardinals. 

In September, i48i, Pope Sixtus IV sent his nephew 
Girolamo Riario, with his wife, Caterina Sforza, to 
Venice to conclude an alliance. The Doge Giovanni 
Mocenigo and one hundred and fifteen ladies resplen- 
dent in jewels went in the Bucentaur to meet the pair 
as far as San Clemente ; among the ladies was the Doge's 
youthful daughter-in-law dressed in cloth of gold. The 
day after his arrival in the city the Count was received 
in the Hall of the Great Council and enrolled among the 
Venetian nobility. Then a hundred and thirty-two 
noble damsels bedecked with splendid gems, gold, and 
pearls assembled in the Hall of the Palace. The Doge 
and the nobility rose at the entry of Count Girolamo 
and his spouse. Dancing began at once, and as night 
came down various games were started and carried on 
till four hours after sundown. Then a magnificent 
banquet was served to all the guests. " Gli ahiti delle 
donne," writes the chronicler Giacomo da Volterra, 
"come mi fu assicurato da persone competcnti e che 
dicono il vero, rappresentavano un valore di trecento 
mila monete d'oro." 2 The Riarii, however, did not 
completely succeed in their political mission. Venice 
was lavish to prodigality in the reception of her guests, 
but never lost sight of her major interests. 

In i4o,3 another lady, Beatrice d'Este, wife of Lo- 
dovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, with various princes 

i Arch, di Stato, Cerimoniali, T. I, fol. i3. 

2 Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, Vol. 1, pp. 119, iao. Roma, 1893. 


of her blood and the Milanese ambassadors, came to 
Venice with the intent to strengthen the league already 
formed between Venice and Milan in view of the threat- 
ened descent of Charles VIII. Beatrice wrote to her 
husband letters full of curious details as to the princely 
nature of her reception, describing the balls, the spec- 
tacles, the allegorical representations given in her 
honour in the Ducal Palace. 1 Seven years later the 
political atmosphere had undergone a change, and 
Venice expressed equal joy over the imprisonment of 
Lodovico Sforza, whose wife she had received with so 
much honour. When the news spread through the 
city that their recent enemy, who in accordance with 
his shifting policy had joined the enemies of Venice, 
was a prisoner, the people thronged the piazza and lit 
bonfires ; the houses were illuminated, the bells rang 
out. The rejoicings lasted till the following evening, 
and Sanudo records, on April i4, i5oo, that "in 
questa sera fo fato fuogo in piazza di san Marcho justa 
il solito e compito de brusar le panaterie, et eri sera 
fo fato portar per la Signoria 3o cara di legne su la 
piazza, et Forator di Franza ozi venuto fe comprar uno 
burchio di legne e fe cazar fuogo per mezo la sua caxa 
et fe brusar le legne con tuto el burchio qual lo 
pagb." 2 

Among many we may name a few of the illus- 
trious personages who in the sixteenth century found 
splendid hospitality in Venice. On February 17, i5oa, 
the Marchioness of Mantua, the Duchess of Urbino, 
the Marchioness of Cotrone, who had reached Venice 
incognito, were lodged in the Palazzo Trevisan at Sant' 
Eustachio, and were visited by the Savii agli ordini, who 
made them offers of service and gave them handsome 

i Arch, di Stato, Milano. See Appendix, Doc. A. The letters of 
Beatrice were published for the first time in the original edition of this 
book (Torino, Roux e Favale, 1880). 

2 Sanudo, Diari, III, 225. 


presents. 1 A Frenchman, M. Bretagne, a herald-at- 
arms, recounts the brillante reception offered to Anne, 
daughter of William, Count de Candale, and wife of 
Ladislas VI, King of Bohemia and Hungary, on July 
i3, i5o2. There were regattas for women and men, 
jousts in boats on the Grand Canal, balls and banquets 
on board the Bucentaur and in the Palace ; the Republic 
spent at the rate of four hundred ducats a day on these 
shows. 2 In i52o the Marquis of Mantua was lodged at 
Santa Sofia in the house of his ambassador ; to cele- 
brate his visit the companions of the Hose belonging 
to the Club of the Immortals raised a great wooden 
platform on the Grand Canal, where they gave a ball, 
inviting fifty ladies. On board two other boats — one 
bearing the arms of Morosini, the other of Molin — they 
also danced in masquerade ; then followed water jousts, 
regattas, music, song, salvoes of guns. On board a 
barge hung with the arms of Mantua a sumptuous 
banquet was offered to the Marquis, who afterwards 
went on board the floating platform where, to the light 
of two hundred torches, the dance was still going on. 
The people thronged the quays and the pavements, and 
scrambled upon the cornices and sills of the windows 
and on every projection of architecture or of sculpture. 3 
Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, arrived in 1 56a with 
a following of over three thousand persons ; accom- 
panied by the Signory of Venice, he crossed the Grand 
Canal to take up his lodging in the palace belonging 
to the Dukes of Ferrara at San Giovanni Decollato. 
An eyewitness, after describing the windows and bal- 
conies of the palaces on the Grand Canal hung with 

i Sanudo, Diari, IV, a34- 

2 Fetes donndes a la reine de Hongrie el ordve de son voyage, depuis Vdnise 
jusqn'en Hongrie, par Bretagne, Heraut d'armes. MS. in folio, on parch- 
ment of the sixteenth century. There are seven leaves, and the codex 
belonged to the Bibliotheque Bt'thnre. See Les manuscrits francais de la 
Bibliotheque du Roi, par Paulin, Paris, Vol. I, pp. Io4-io5. Paris, i836. 

8 Sanudo, WWII, 50i. 


carpets and tapestries, and thronged with gentlemen 
and bellissime matrone, the canal packed close with 
gondolas and boats, the quays alive with a variegated 
crowd acclaiming the Duke, continues thus : " Smonto 
il duca alia riva del suo palagio : alia quale si trovo un 
ponte di lunghezza di 5o piede e di larghezza di 20. E 
le porte e le finestre del palagio erano tutte superba- 
mente ornate di festoni con le armi di san Marco e 
della casa pur d'Este. Questo parimento si era fatto a 
sei altri palagi : i quali questo serenissimo dominio 
haveva fatto apparecchiar superbissimamente per li per- 
sonaggi principali, cioe per gl' illustrissimi signori Don 
Francesco e Don Alfonso, il signor Galeazzo Gonzaga, 
il conte della Mirandola, il conte di Novellara et il 
signor Gornelio Bentivoglio, di maniera che pareva l'un 
palagio gareggiasse con l'altro di apparecchio e di or- 
namento. Erasi per ciascun di questi adornata una 
gondola con finissimi panni di razzi, a differenza di 
quella del duca, che era coperta di broccato. Furono 
medesimamente assegnate cinquanta altre gondole con 
tappeti a servizio della corte." 1 After the middle of 
the sixteenth century, in the reign of Francesco Veniero 
(i554~i556), Giulia Varano, wife of Guidobaldo II, 
Duke of Urbino, and the Cardinal of Lorraine, the 
envoy of the French King to treat of an alliance with 
the Republic, and Bona, widow of Sigismund, King of 
Poland (i554), greeted by Cassandra Fedele on board 
the Bucentaur, all had opportunity to admire the riches 
of Venice. 

Historians, poets, painters have preserved for us in 
its minutest details the famous entry of Henri de 
Valois into Venice. He had been elected King of 
Poland but a few months earlier, and at Cracow the 
news reached him that his brother Charles IX, King 
of France, had died on May 3o, ibyk, in the Chateau 

1 La entrata che fece in Venetia I'M. et Ecc. signor Duca Alfonso II 
Estense Duca V di Ferrara. Venetia, Rampazetto, MJDLXXII. 


of Vincennes. The Grown of France, which now be- 
longed to Henry, offered higher attractions than the 
Crown of Poland, and the young sovereign at once made 
up his mind to leave his kingdom, where he felt himself 
an exile. He kept his resolve a secret from his Polish 
subjects, and one evening, feigning to go to bed as 
usual, he summoned to consultation some of his trusty 
Frenchmen, and then without losing a moment's time 
he took horse and under cover of night fled across 
a country hardly known to him. No sooner did the 
Poles learn the news of this flight than two hundred 
horsemen set out at full gallop in pursuit, but they did 
not overtake the flying monarch till he had already 
crossed the frontier of Austria. The Grand Chamber- 
lain Tenczynski cried to the king, Serenissima Ma- 
jestas cur fugis? but Henry, vouchsafing no reply, 
pursued his way, and on reaching Vienna sent letters 
to the Signory of Venice announcing his intention of 
passing through their territory and of visiting the most 
remarkable and the richest city in the world. Many 
princes flocked to Venice to welcome the new sovereign 
of France and to add to the splendour of the occasion. 
And indeed the spectacles and shows offered by the Re- 
public were extraordinary and even fantastic, — revels, 
plays, banquets, illuminations, serenades. The chron- 
iclers tell us of the welcome offered to the king at the 
frontier and the number of Senators who went to meet 
him ; they describe the gondola furnished with gold 
brocade, the arrival at Murano, the young patricians 
appointed to wait on the king, each dressed in a cloak 
of silk, the guard of honour of sixty halberdiers in 
orange silk uniforms and armed with battle-axes. The 
king, accompanied by the Doge, was brought to Venice 
on a galley of four hundred oars, amid salvoes of 
artillery and followed by a long train of galleys, brig- 
antines, boats of all kinds bedecked with tapestry, cloth 
of gold, velvet, mirrors, arms. At San Niccolo on 

t_ 11 

< 11 



the Lido there was raised a triumphal arch, designed 
by Palladio, painted by Tintoretto and Veronese. The 
son of Catherine de' Medici was lodged in the Palazzo 
Foscari, furnished for the occasion with tapestries, 
azure cloth wrought in gold, satin, and velvet seme 
of fleurs-de-lys. They entertained him with regattas, 
faction fights on the bridges between the Castellani and 
Nicolotti, public banquets and theatrical representations 
in the Ducal Palace. 1 

And in order that those who visited Venice might 
carry away a vivid idea of her marvellous wealth, her 
guests were not merely magnificently entertained, as we 
have shown, but received handsome presents as well. 

Leonardo Botta, Milanese ambassador to the Republic, 
in 1^76 sends to the Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza a 
curious account of the reception accorded to some 
Tartar envoys. The first ambassador, bello homo, grave 
de aspecto, dressed in a costume conforme al ungaresco, 
appeared before the Signory with a suite of twelve ; by 
means of two interpreters he expressed the friendly 
sentiments which animated his master, in whose name 
he offered as a present two suits of armour and a horse. 
The Republic per extender e il nome et fama sua, enter- 
tained the ambassadors royally for the space of three 
months, showing them all the wonders of the city. 
Botta, like the good Milanese he was, notes that the 
Tartars, used only to horseflesh and to water, milk, and 
honey, perche non havevano cognitione di vino, took very 
kindly to wine, even though the malmsey gave them 
red eyes. " Deinde," continues Botta, " essa Signoria 
ha facto ad dicto oratore una veste de brochato doro 
cremisi, una de damaschino alexandrino et una de 

1 A small but interesting collection might be made of the tracts which 
describe the fetes in honour of Henry III. The fullest sources are Rocco 
de Benedetti (Feste et trionfi nella felice venuta di Henrico HI, ecc. Venetia, 
1574) ; Delia Groce [1st. della pubbl. et famosa entrata in Ven. del Sereniss. 
Henrico HI. Venezia, i574), and recently De Nolhac and Solerti (II viaggio 
in It. di Enr. HI. Torino, 1890). 


damaschino verde. Et perche lui et compagnia sua 
non havevano portato piu che una camisa per uno, 
come se fussino andati in villa, essa Signoria ha in 
questo tempo speso vinti ducati in farli fare camise 
longe alia tartarescha. Ulterius manda ad donare al 
grande Tartaro : Una peza de brochato doro cremesino 
con pelo, una peza de brochato doro alexandrino, una 
peza de brochato d'oro verde ; tute longe braza XVIII 
per fare doe veste da cadauna sorte alia tartaresca. 
Item una peza de damaschino alexandrino ; una peza 
de damaschino verde. Doe peze de scarlato e Doe 
peze de morello de grana Longe tute alia predicta 
misura. Item balassi dieci da XXX infino in LX 
ducati l'uno. Perle X da XX infino in XL ducati 
l'una. Item spade XII italiane de piu. sorte. Pancere 
XII bellissime. Item li fa le spese de cavalli et de 
dinari infino giongano alia presentia del gran Tartaro." * 

In 1676 a cha'ush, or envoy from the Sublime Porte, 
arrived in Venice and was assigned five ducats a day. 
Every time he had audience the councillors rose, and 
he was placed on the Doge's right. On his departure 
he received five hundred sequins as a gift, besides ten 
splendid robes, five of damask, four of scarlet, and one 
of velvet. 2 

At private entertainments, at weddings, at receptions 
by the Doge, at the theatres, everywhere, in short, we 
see the companions of the Hose present, con le loro 
gondole et servitori adornatissimi, con le loro livree, 
imprese el mollis The various clubs which formed 

1 Arch, di Stato di Milano, Carteggio diplomatico. Ill mo principi et excel- 
lentissimo Domino Galeaz. Mariae Sfortiae, XX julii, 1^76. 

2 Arch, di Stato, Ceiimoniali, T. I, fol. XLVII. 

8 From a manuscript miscellany of the Pisani Library, Santo Stefano 
(Museo Givico, MSS. Cicogna, God. 3278) we learn the devices and cos- 
tumes of some of these clubs. The Accesi, founded by Alberto Badoaro, 
bore a lion with a snake twisted round its neck.. The Floridi wore the 
right leg divided lengthwise, the inner half scarlet, the outer purple; the 
left leg all green. The Reali wore the right leg scarlet, the left azure 
inside and purple out. The embroidery showed a cypress with the motto, 
Al ciel s'erga il dolce nome. The MQdesli wore pale rose-coloured hose. 


the company of the Hose reached their highest splen- 
dour in the middle of the Ginquecento. Always ready 
to amuse and be amused, the companions planned 
spectacles, directed festivities, enlivened the ducal ban- 
quets with music and song ; they revived the ancient 
Roman Comedy and carried a note of gaiety and 
refined taste even into the churches. 1 

At Venice every occasion served for gaiety, display, 
amusement. Besides the Forze d'Ercole, the faction 
fights, bull baiting, regattas, civil and religious func- 
tions, in which the people took a large part, there 
were other spectacles which had a purely popular char- 
acter and which gradually grew in importance. The 
people, to compensate themselves for political nonentity, 
drowned the thought of their lost liberties in the delight 
of public spectacles which served to display all the 
pomp of vast riches ; and mid the universal gaiety 
they remained both quiet and smooth-tempered. Rarely 
even in such a crowd did quarrels spring up ; one sel- 
dom saw threatening gestures or heard insults exchanged. 
The very factions of the Castellani, who wore red caps 
and sashes, and of the Nicolotti, who wore black, never 
seriously shook the peace of the city, though their 
contests offered a favourite public show. Blood was 
hardly ever shed, and both sides were ready, at the 
moment of danger to the fatherland, to forget their 
rivalry and to feel themselves good sons of San Marco. 
The whole movement of Venetian life recalled the 
gaiety of a happy family. 

At San Raffaele, at San Niccold, and at Santa Marta 
lived the fisher population, who formed a little re- 
public by themselves ; they had their Gastaldo, called 
the "Doge," with twelve presidents and a chan- 
cellor, all of them charged with the regulation and 

1 In 1529 the Reali caused a solemn Mass to be sung at Santa Marina 
in the month of May. In i564 in June, the Accesi, whose prior was 
Geronimo Foscari, caused a Mass to be sung in Santa Groce on the 
Giudecca. MS. Cicogna, cit. 


administration of the fishing industry. The aristocracy 
was careful not to interfere with their innocent satisfac- 
tion in empty names and outward shows, it even sent its 
officers to lend a certain air of dignity to this shadow 
of a free community. When the time came for the 
ejection of a gastaldo grande, or head of the Nicolotti 
fishermen, draperies were hung from all the windows, 
the bells rang out in joyous peals, while the voting 
took place in the church of San Niccolb in the pres- 
ence of a Ducal Secretary to whom the newly elected 
" Doge " took the oath of fidelity. The day following 
the "Doge," not in his ordinary garb of black, but 
clothed in red cap, cloak, shoes and stockings, pre- 
ceded by the standard and accompanied by a great 
crowd to the blare of trumpets and the discharge of 
mortars, crossed the Rialto and went to the Palace, 
where the Doge embraced and kissed him. 1 An alle- 
gory of this pleasing ceremony was preserved in the 
picture of that genial Cinquecento artist, Yitrulio of 
Vicenza, who painted for a chamber of the Ducal Palace 
a representation of the " Doge " of the Nicolotti offer- 
ing his heart to Venice. On Ascension Day the Doge 
gave a banquet to the fishers of San Niccolo, and on 
the Feast of the Purification, when visiting the church 
of Santa Maria Formosa, the guild of cofferers (Cassel- 
leri) in the name of the people offered his Serenity a 
straw hat, muscat wine, and oranges. These exchanges 
of courtesy, which were not a mere form, helped to 
knit rulers and ruled together. 

Another purely popular festival was the Sagra of 
Santa Marta. The custom among the fisher-folk of 
supping together in Summer when the hard day's work 
was done, gave rise to the merry-makings and suppers 
which were held on the eve of the feast of Santa Marta 
in the parish called by her name. The people set out a 
sumptuous repast either in boats or on the shores of 

1 Arch, di Stato, Collegio, Notatorio, Reg. i4, fol. 4i t°. 


the lagoon, and among the dishes the most popular was 
soles in a sauce called saor. 1 The feast of Martinmas 
also was celebrated by uproarious suppers and copious 
libations of new wine. Noisy bands went marching 
through the streets on the evening of that day, halting 
below windows, singing choruses of good wishes to 
the owners of the houses and begging a dole in food 
and wine. A song in the Veneto-Sclav dialect, which 
possessed a little literature of its own in the sixteenth 
century, has preserved an echo of these popular merry- 
makings : 

Benvegnuo si a Marti gnun 

che se allegra tutti quanti, 

e misser, maduna e santi 

e ogn'altro compagnun 

Benvegnuo sia Martignun. 
Ognun triumpha, beui, magna 

bon formaio, bon frutaia, 

de bon carne, bon lasagna, 

bon gallina, bon capun, 

Benvegnuo sia Martignun. . . . 
Tuti vadi noto inturno 

magna beui infina zurno ; 

e cantando suna curno, 

dami nespola e marun 

Benvegnuo sia Martignun. . . . 2 

Should it strike any one that these popular diver- 
sions came too frequently, it is enough to bear in 
mind that if work is to be smartly and efficiently done 
it is absolutely necessary that the worker must have 
leisure for play and for recuperation. And it was 
the very vigour and healthiness of the work itself that 
created the joyous abandon of the play hours. More- 
over these frequent festivals — which to-day would 
only mean laziness and foolish orgies — were at that 
epoch one of the means for assisting the development of 
industry by tempting foreigners to the city, where they 

1 Made of onions and vinegar. 

2 Canzone alia Schiavonesca di San Martino in Menghini's Canzoni ant. 
del popolo It. Vol. I, fasc. 4- Roma, 1900. See note on pp. 86 et seq. of 
Vitt. Rossi. 


bought and sold and spent money, and so became a 
source of gain to the population, an industry in itself. 
The fifteen days of the Ascension Fair brought in large 
profits, and at the more celebrated sag re painters ex- 
posed their pictures, sculptors their statues, and mercers 
their wares. 

To encourage and facilitate commerce and corre- 
spondence between business men, the State arranged 
an active service of letter carriers, every one of whom 
was called on to deposit an adequate sum of caution 
money. 1 The couriers arrived at Fusina on horse- 
back, and thence boats were ready to carry the cor- 
respondence not only of the government, but letters, 
packets, money, valises, chests, etc. belonging to private 
individuals, by whom they were paid. 2 The districts 
of the Veneto sent their foreign correspondence through 

With such a stream of foreigners the city certainly 
did not lack lodgings for their reception. At Ascen- 
siontide over a hundred thousand people poured into 
Venice, and yet all this crowd found ready if not 
comfortable housing. Foreigners of distinction were 
harboured in the exchanges conceded by the govern- 
ment to the various nationalities or sometimes in the 
leading hostelries ; if the concourse were very great, 
the government gave special licenses to private indi- 
viduals to receive strangers. Hostelries were called 
case; 6 the commoner kind, caneve and taverne.* It is 
to these, without doubt, that Garzoni refers when he 
talks of ' * Un' hostaria tutta sfessa e smantellata ; una 
camera sbucata, ruinata e sostentata per forza di pon- 
telli, ricetti di topi solamente, un solaro nero come la 
caligine dei camini, un lastricato di quadrelli mobili, 

i Ciscato, / portalettere in Padova net Cinquecento (Bollettino del Museo 
civico di Padova, a. II, 1900). 

8 Garzoni, Piazza, op. cit., p. 4^7- 

* The name albergo properly indicates the meeting-room of a guild. 

4 Gallicciolli, III, 267, 269. 


che par che i spiriti l'abbian disfatto a posta, le mura 
spegazzate di mille disonesta e sporcizie, che i forestieri, 
per dispetto, v' hanno scritto per tutto ; le tavole piu 
onte, che quelle dei beccari, e tarolate dentro e fuori 
per la vecchiezza ; le tovaglie sporche di vino e di 
brodo, ove il Re de Moscoviti fa perpetua residenza ; 
i faccioli rotti, e ruinati piu che le vele dei marinari ; 
i salini attaccati insieme col filo e con la cera ; i bic- 
chieri senza piedi ; i boccali col viso rotto ; i cucchiari 
brutti, come le mescole di cucina ; i coltelli senza 
taglio, le forcine senza punta . . . i sugamani strac- 
ciati, come le tele dei ragni ; i lenzuoli tutti ripezzati e 
carichi di brutture ; i cussini puzzolenti piu che l'orina 
guasta ; i capezzali pieni di cimici . . . e insomma 
tutta l'osteria acclama da ogni parte pidocchieria estrema 
e infinita." 

It was chiefly at Saint Mark's and at the Rialto, the 
two centres of greatest activity, that these hostelries were 
to be found ; in the fifteenth century they numbered 
more than twenty, and all at that time had stables and 
horses. On the piazza of San Marco there was the 
Cappello, whose sign appears, hung out from the Pro- 
curatie, in Gentile Bellini's picture of the Procession 
(1^97) and the Salvadego, probably so called from the 
name of the first host. On the quay were the Leone, 
the Pellegrino, the Cavalletto, and the Luna, all of which 
were taken down when the Library was built by San- 
sovino. There were three others near the Ponte della 
Paglia, the Serpe, the Stella, and the Corona. These 
hostelries near San Marco must have been the most 
comfortable, and as a fact, in 1/196, five representatives 
of the city of Taranto were lodged at the Serpe. 1 The 
Gha'ush from the Sublime Porte, who was in Venice 
in 1579, was P ut U P a * the Corona, as no private lodg- 
ing could be found for him on account of the plague 
which was then raging. 

1 Tassini, Curiosiia Veneziane, pp. 5a6, 711. Venezia, 1887. 


At Rialto we get the Leon Blanco, at San Bartolomeo 
in the Gorte dell' Orso, and near the great bridge the 
Campana, of which Marin Sanudo 1 was co-proprietor ; 
the Bo, the Angelo, the Torre, the Donzella, and finally 
the Sturion, which gave its name to the calle and was 
closed about i5ii. 2 The sign of the sturgeon was 
represented by Carpaccio in his picture of the Patriarch 
of Grado freeing a demoniac. In all these hostelries, 
which are not to be confounded with the caneve and 
taverne of a lower class, the foreigner would find decent 
food, good beds, and many comforts, including women 
of loose character. This scandal was suppressed by a 
law of May 22, 1489. 

1 *• Adi 3 novembrio i4o,6, zonse in questa terra venuti con un navilio 
di Monopoli cinque Ambassadori di l'Universita di Taranto tre francesi 
uno di qual e Borgognon et do cittadini con 4 fameglii et li francesi 
nomevano Loy francese e Nicolo di Pavi ; li citadini Raphael Cazanegi et 
Ugolino Bochariolo, e questi arivono al hostaria di la Serpa al ponte di 
paia." Sanudo, Diart, I, 376. 

2 Sanudo, ibid., XIII, 458, says that on January 10, i5i3, a fire 
broke out at Rialto in a shop of Teilaruoli qua teniva il diamante per 
insegna, and spread rapidly, "et fu sonato campano a Rialto dove tutti 
concorseno si quelli avevano volte et magazeni con mercadautie, come li 
botegieri e altri avevano stabile in Rialto, tra i quali io Marin Sanudo, fo 
missier Lunardo vi corsi per aver parte in l'ostaria di la Campana, di la 
qual trago el viver mio di fitto ducati ao5 (about forty pounds sterling) 
oltra le boteghe da basso." 


.£ a 

(X l— ' 



— c 



AT epochs of advanced civilisation the manifesta- 
l\ tions of genius occur more frequently and more 
XJl strikingly than at other times. As in the pre- 
paratory period of toil and labour individual genius 
(with some rare exceptions) appears to a certain extent 
to be hampered and incomplete, so in the golden age of 
a people's history it seems to reflect the serene splen- 
dour of the historical moment. The artists born at the 
time when Venice, having over-passed the period of her 
rude and early greatness, touched the acme of her ex- 
ternal splendour, translate the triumph of their country 
into terms of their art which set its seal on the period 
in a revel of colour and of form. 

In architecture the style of the pointed arch, which 
had superseded the Byzantine and Roman arches, now 
in its turn began to yield its place to that harmony and 
balance which characterise the art of the Renaissance. 
It is impossible to separate definitely and sharply the 
architectural and decorative style of the Middle Ages 
from that of the new era, for the first mingles with the 
second, the second borrows something from the first. 
Yet there are striking differences, and we must bear 
in mind that the style of the Renaissance is not iden- 
tical throughout all Italy. Each region has, so to 
speak, its local genius which shows, it is true, its direct 
descent from the decorative art of ancient Rome, but 
which varies and combines its material in obedience to 
local usage and tradition, and very often in obedience 
to the ideas of some artist of dominating genius who is 
vol. i. — 7 


therefore frequently imitated. Thus the Renaissance 
style in Lombardy, very different from the same style 
in Venice, takes its imprint from Bramante, Suardi, 
called Bramantino, Ambrogio da Fossano, Caradosso. 
In Bologna we find Nadi leaving his mark upon archi- 
tecture ; Florence recognises as her leaders Brunelles- 
chi, Leo Battista Alberti, the da Maiano, Cronaca ; 
Naples has her Brunelleschi in Agnello Fiore ; Urbino 
in Luciano di Laurana, and so on. Each little Italian 
State gives us variants, not in the principles of the art, 
but in the method and the details. That these variants 
are less obvious in the sixteenth century, when the art 
was full grown, is due to the fact that by that time 
Italian architecture had come to be a direct imitation 
of Romanesque, while decoration availed itself of the 
grotesque, called later alia rajfaella, which Raphael 
had glorified in the Loggie of the Vatican. 

In Venice, as early as the close of the Middle Ages, 
we find examples of that art which took as its model 
ancient Roman monuments ; already in i£6o classical 
architecture, unalloyed by any touch of the ogival 
style, triumphed for the first time in the great gate of 
the Arsenal, which in later years was adorned with 
statues. At Venice about the year i£33 was born the 
friar Francesco Colonna, who in his monastery of San 
Niccolo at Treviso wrote his Hypnerotomachia, or Dream 
of Polifilo, 1 in 1467, a curious and important book 
witli illustrations, which exercised a strong influence 
on the architectural style which the new age was re- 
introducing. A whole army of artists then effected 
the transition from the caprice of the pointed arch to 
the gravity of the Latin form, though retaining a cer- 
tain delicacy and grace of idea and of line ; and the 

1 Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, ubi humana omnia non nisi somnium esse docet 
atque obiter plurima scitu sane quam digna commemorat. Cautum est ne quia 
in Dominio 111. S. V. impune hunc librum queat imprimere. Venetiia 
mense decembri MID in aedibus AJdi Manutii accuratissime. 

Gate of the Arsenal 


dominant aristocracy, which desired to conceal under 
the cloak of outward magnificence the first symptoms of 
incipient decline, availed itself largely of their services 
to perpetuate its memory in the city of which it was 
the actual life and soul. Accordingly these artists 
were called in to restore and to embellish the ancient 
monuments and to raise new ones, of such sumptu- 
ousness that contemporaries and posterity alike were 
amazed at their splendour. 

The people became gradually educated in the pres- 
ence of these magnificent monuments of art, and 
the episode of the festival in honour of Cimabue's 
Madonna in Florence, which gave its name to the Borgo 
Allegri, was in Venice a thing of daily recurrence, for 
the people are always proud of new buildings which go 
to adorn their city. 

When, on March 12, 1^96, at SS. Giovanni e Paolo, 
opposite the Scuola di San Marco, the monument to 
the Condottiere, Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo, who 
had left to the State a large sum of money on condi- 
tion that a memorial should be erected to him on the 
Piazza di San Marco, was unveiled, Sanudo tells us 
that iutti lo andoe a veder. The equestrian statue 
roused the greatest admiration for Leopardi, who had 
made it ; but this artistic enthusiasm quite overshad- 
owed the fame of the warrior, and not a word is 
said about the general who had so often led Venetian 
arms to victory. The Republic took no account of 
individuals except in so far as they went to compose 
the State ; it refused to allow the statue of Colleoni 
to be erected in the Piazza di San Marco, and in order 
to fulfil the terms of the bequest recourse was had to 
an ingenious quibble, and the statue was put up, not on 
the Piazza di San Marco, but on the Piazza della Scuola 
di San Marco. In the same way the bridge and calle 
close to the monument which in our day would prob- 
ably have been named after Colleoni, were called by 


the Venetians after the work of art, Ponte e Calle del 

To render more complete the triumph of art upon 
the lagoon, other States in Italy contributed their most 
illustrious artificers to swell the current in Venice ; and 
Venice gladly welcomed them and gave them in return 
a large hospitality. She received with honour whole 
families like the Lombardi (Solari), who came from 
Garona, near Lugano, then in the Duchy of Milan. 
Pietro Lombardo, son of Martino da Carona, was living 
in Venice in the parish of San Samuele in 1^79, and in 
1498 was master-mason at the Ducal Palace. Other 
Lombardi also from Garona, who were living in Venice 
and belonged to the same family, were the brothers 
Andrea the painter, and Cristoforo Solaro, called the 
Gobbo, both of whom worked in Venice. 1 But the 
great master Pietro Lombardo (d. i5i5) had only two 
sons, — Antonio, who died in i5i6, and Tullio, who 
died in i532, perhaps the elder of the two and father 
of Santo (d. i56o). From the same district came 
Sebastiano da Lugano, who made the choir at Sant' 
Antonio di Castello and the Cappella Guoro at the 
Carmine ; also the Bregni or Brignoni, among whom 
we must mention Lorenzo (d. i524), who came either 
from Richeggia on Lugano or from Osteno on Como, 
the home of Giovanni Buora (d. i5i3), who left two 
sons, Antonio and Andrea, likewise architects and 
sculptors. Milan sent Matteo Reverti, one of the crea- 
tors of the Ga' d'Oro, and Antonio Abbondi, known 
as Scarpagnino (d. i548). 

As Venice expanded on the mainland, she exerted all 
her powers of attraction to draw to herself and to pro- 
tect the artists of her subject cities, who, as it were in 
return for a benign government, offered their most 
illustrious offspring to the city of San Marco. The 
greatest artists of the Venetian provinces either sent 

1 Paoletti, Rinascimento, op. cit., p. a33. 

Monument in Honour of Bartolomeo Colleoni 

Photo by Alinari 


the fruit of their labour to Venice, or had artistic and 
friendly relations with Venetians. From Treviso we 
get Vincenzo Catena, Pier Maria, and Girolamo Pen- 
nacchi, Paris Bordon, and Zorzon of Castelfranco ; 
Cadore gave Titian ; Vicenza, the architects Tomaso 
Formenton and Palladio, the engraver of gems Valerio 
Belli, the painters Buonconsiglio, called Marescalco, and 
Benedetto Montagna, son of the illustrious Bartolomeo 
da Orzinuovi, Maganza and the Da Ponte of Bassano ; 
Verona lent the architects Fra Giocondo, Sammicheli, 
Falconetto, the sculptor and architect Antonio Rizzo, 
the painters Girolamo dai Libri, Morone, Liberale, 
Cavazzola, Caroto, Brusasorci, Badile, Torbido, Boni- 
fazio, Caliari, Dario Varotari ; from Padua we have 
Mantegna, Montagnana, Alessandro Varotari, and the 
sculptors Bartolomeo Bellano and Andrea Briosco ; 
Friuli furnishes Giovanni da Udine, Pellegrino da San 
Daniele, and Pordenone. Among other lands outside 
the Veneto but under the banner of San Marco, we may 
note Brescia, where Romanino flourished (i 485-1 566) 
and Alessandro Bonvicino, called Moretto (i4o,8-i554) ; 
also Bergamo, which was a veritable nursery of artists. 
The architects Bartolomeo Bon (d. i52g), master builder 
to the Salt Board, Guglielmo Grigi, called the Berga- 
masco di Alzano (d. i55o), and Mauro Coducci (d. i5o£) 
from Val Brembana, hitherto ascribed to the Solari 
family, and therefore known as Moro Lombardo, 1 all 
came from Bergamo ; so too did the painters Palma, 
Previtali, Cariani, Santacroce. Thus Venice drew to 
her breast the art of all her subject lands, and all shared 
in the glory of the capital. But in such a wealth of 
artists it would be beyond our scope to illustrate the 
work of all. 

We have already noted the transformation in the 
aspect of the city ; both San Marco and Rialto were 
adorned with new buildings. The Veronese Antonio 

1 Paoletti, Rinascimento, Part VI, p. i63. 


Rizzo (1499), who had built the two facades of the 
Ducal Palace, one on the Court, the other on the 
Canal, added the staircase known subsequently as 
the Scala dei Giganti, and the Arco Foscari, both of 
them works which roused and still rouse the greatest 
admiration. Pietro Lombardo and his sons Antonio 
and Tullio were the creators of the Miracoli (1^80), of 
the Church of Sant' Andrea at the Certosa, now demol- 
ished, and of the first courtyard of the Scuola di San 
Giovanni Evangclista ; theirs, too, are the monuments 
to the Doges Pietro Mocenigo and Niccolb Marcel lo in 
SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and the Palazzo Loredan, now 
Vendramin — Calcrgi, on the Grand Canal, and the Pa- 
lazzo Gussoni at San Lio, than which Renaissance archi- 
tecture has no more florid or magnificent examples. 
These Lombardi were a family of unrivalled artists who 
scattered over Venice and other cities of the Veneto 
the incomparable riches of their designs and of their 
chisels and gave their name to the Lombardesque style 
which marks so many buildings of this period, such 
as the Ga' Dario, the Palazzi Manzoni-Angaran, Corner- 
Spinelli, Contarini dalle Figure, Grimani at San Polo on 
the Grand Canal. But of these, as of so many other 
Venetian monuments of that date, the authors cannot 
be identified with precision ; for it frequently happened 
that an artist would supply a design and begin a build- 
ing which was carried on slowly under the direction of 
other architects who not uncommonly introduced modi- 
fications on the original plans. Hence the numerous 
errors in the history of Venetian art, the confusion of 
names, or the ascription to a single master of work 
that was due to the labour and ability of many. Doc- 
uments recently brought to light enable us to restore 
to their proper authors the facade of San Zaccaria 
(i457~i5i5), a large and imposing creation of Anton 
Marco Gambello, and Mauro Coducci ; the magnificent 
Scuola di San Marco, the work of Pietro Lombardo, 


Giovanni Buora, and Mauro Coducci ; the Scala Con- 
tarini dal Bovolo, designed by Giovanni Candi, a Ve- 
netian, which is a copy of the Leaning Tower at Pisa, 
but excels it in beauty by the curve of its staircase 
and of its arches. 1 The Scuola di San Rocco, in which 
one knoAvs not whether to admire more its solidity or 
its lightness, was designed by Bartolomeo Buono (1017) 
and completed by the Milanese Antonio Abbondi, called 
Scarpagnino, and by Sante Lombardo. The facade on 
the Campo shows a pure and broad design and is a 
veritable triumph of art ; the facade on the rio is 
equally impressive, though inferior on the whole. In- 
side the staircase and halls are adorned by magnificent 
works of art, among them the masterpieces of Tintoret's 

In the region of the intellect there was manifest a 
youthful exuberance. Every mind, every intelligence, 
even the dullest, lay open to the influence of art, and 
that not in one aspect only, but in all its varied 
multiplicity of forms. The Venetian Battista Franco 
(b. 1^98, d. i56i) was at one and the same time 
both painter, draughtsman, engraver with the point 
and with the burin, designer of fetes and theatrical 
representations ; and with facile if not always happy 
touch he would pass from his work on great altar- 
pieces and vast compositions in fresco to the graceful 
figures and minute grotesques with which he decorated 
the Scala d'Oro of the Ducal Palace. Giacomo Franco, 
(b. i55o, d. 1620), perhaps a relation of Battista, en- 
graver and editor of books, had his shop in the Frez- 
zaria at the sign of the "Sole." He wrote learnedly 
on art, and his plates representing the festivals, cus- 
toms sacred and profane, costumes, palaces, are pre- 
cious documents for the history of art and of dress. 

1 For the monuments of the Renaissance in Venice see Paoletti's Rinas- 
cimento, already quoted, and Bode's notes to the Cicerone of Burckhardt. 
The first edition of the Cicerone was published at Basel in i855. 


Francesco Marcolini, born at Forli, but a Venetian by 
long residence, was a protean genius. He was not only 
an excellent printer, but a no less excellent draughts- 
man, engraver, goldsmith, 1 and antiquarian, an archi- 
tectural expert, so much so, that Sansovino selected 
his design for the wooden bridge longo sospeso in aiere, 2 

. . . onde Murano 
Guarda Vinegia, credo dei divini 
Che fece con ingegno sovrumano, 
L'ingegnoso Francesco Marcolini.* 

Even more striking examples of versatility are of- 
fered by the careers of some great artists who were not 
only sculptors, painters, and architects, but also en- 
gravers and metal founders. The painter Giovanni 
Bellini modelled the medallion of Mahomet II, and 
Leopardi, the author of the equestrian statue of Colle- 
oni, was also architect of Santa Giustina at Padua, 4 in 
company with Briosco, and acted as master die-sinker 
and aurifex in the Mint. The architect Antonio Rizzo, 
who carved the beautiful statues of Adam and Eve (1/192 ?) 
in the Ducal Palace, shows himself both architect and 
sculptor of merit in the monuments to the Doge Tron 
and to Giacomo Marcello at the Frari ; and the Lom- 
bardi proved their supremacy in the sister arts. Pietro 
and his sons, Antonio and Tullio, are the authors of 
the altars to San Jacopo and San Paolo in the transept 
of San Marco, of several sculptures at San Giobbe, of 
the two statues of San Paolo and San Girolamo in the 

1 Cicogna (Iscr., VI, 928) transcribes this note from the journal of the 
Sacristy of Santo Stefano : "Francesco Marcolini ridussc l'Orologio nel 
campanile di S. Stefano a ia ore." 

2 Galmo, Letlere, p. 67. 

8 Brusantino,, Angelica Innamorata, Canto XXIX, strophe 64-65. L'ab- 
bate Vine. Zanetti (Guida di Murano, p. 97. Ven. 1866) says, but without 
quoting authority, that the bridge was not made in i5£5 by Marcolini, ma 
vanta un' epoca piu antica. The beautiful wooden bridge was demolished in 
1886, and an iron bridge called after the Vivarini took its place. 

4 Baldoria, // Briosco e il Leopardi, architetti di Santa Giustina (in the 
Arch. Stor. delV Arte, Anno IV, fasc. III. Iloma, 1891). 


church of Santo Stefano, and of the sculptured orna- 
ments in the Miracoli, all modelled with incomparable 
elegance and richness of design without overloading 
or exaggeration of the embellishments. Tullio Lom- 
bardo, along with his brother Antonio, completed the 
church of San Salvatore, begun by Giorgio Spavento. 
He also made and decorated the greater part of the 
Cappella Zeno at San Marco, and executed the tombs 
of the Doges Andrea Vendramin and Giovanni Moce- 
nigo at SS. Giovanni e Paolo. His, too, are the bas- 
reliefs of the Incoronazione in San Giovanni Grisostomo ; 
the angels on the font at San Martino ; two busts in the 
Archaeological Museum in the Ducal Palace ; the sepul- 
chral monument of Guidarello Guidarelli at Ravenna ; 
the five chimneys in the private chambers of the Doges 
and the frieze of the doors in the Equerries' room at the 
Palace, as well as the larger part of the sculpture on the 
facade of the Scuola di San Marco, than which nothing 
fresher or more genial or more masterly can be imagined. 
Antonio Lombardo, a workman of most delicate quality, 
designed the noble bronzes of God the Father and of 
the Virgin della Scarpa in the Cappella Zeno at San 
Marco ; they were cast by Giovanni Alberghetti and 
Pietro Campanato. The architect Jacopo Sansovino 
is the creator of the colossal marble statues of Mars 
and Neptune which give its name to the giant staircase, 
and also of the graceful Madonna in terra cotta which 
was preserved in the Chamber of the Loggetta ; his 
too are the bronze statuettes of Minerva, Apollo, Mer- 
cury, and Peace on the facade of the Loggetta, and the 
bronze statue of Tomaso Rangone, which Burckhardt 
compares to a portrait by Tintoret. 

But should one desire to appreciate the beauties of 
architecture and of sculpture in union, let him study 
the monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni. On a sober, 
clean-cut, graceful pedestal stands the equestrian statue 
of the Condottiere, modelled and cast with all that 


certainty of touch which characterises a great idea 
flowing from the imagination of a great poet. Andrea 
del Verrocchio was engaged on this statue when death 
cut him off, in i488, and the work was finished in 
1/196 hy Leopardi. 

By the middle of the sixteenth century architecture 
was devoting itself more and more to the imitation of 
ancient Roman monuments. Yitruvius reigned su- 
preme, and even artists of the highest genius carried 
to excess the order and frigid regularity of the classical 
style. This taste inspired in a special degree three Ver- 
onese masters, — Fra Giocondo, who was summoned 
to the lagoons in i5oo to carry out hydraulic works 
and fortifications ; Giovanni Maria Falconetto, who, 
according to Vasari, 1 introduced into Venice the true 
principles of building ; and Michele Sammicheli, mili- 
tary architect to the Republic, who constructed the 
noble fort of Gastel Sant' Andrea at the Lido, the 
Palazzo Corner at San Polo, and the grandiose pile of 
the Palazzo Grimani at San Luca. These works dis- 
play that Venetian magnificence which Jacopo Sanso- 
vino understood still better how to express, for in his 
case, at least, the worship of the past did not debar 
him from innovations in the proportions of the archi- 
traves and in the development of the orders, nor from 
conveying that individual imprint which he bestowed 
upon each building, whereby the purpose it was meant 
to serve was revealed at a glance. Sansovino designed 
the new Scuola of the Misericordia, the interior of San 
Francesco della Vigna, the Fabbriche Nuove at Rialto, 
the Palazzo Corner and the Palazzo Manin on the 
Grand Canal, the monuments to Venier and to Poda- 
cataro at San Sebastiano. But his most striking works 
arose in the neighbourhood of San Marco : the facade 
of the now demolished church of San Geminiano, 
opposite the Basilica ; the two giants on the stair of the 

1 Vasari, Lc Vitc, etc., edit. Milanesi, V, 3aa. Firenze, 1880. 




i ; 1 



bg : ^: 

fWWl II . ttfHif'T ' it'"'!"! 

The Library of Sansovino 


Palace ; the Loggetta with its statues, swept away by 
the fall of the Campanile ; the Mint, sombre, austere, 
and massive ; lastly, the Libreria. When Sansovino 
died in 1570, the Library was still unfinished. It was 
completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, of Vicenza, who also 
carried on Sansovino's design in the Procuratie Nuove. 
The sumptuous pile of the Library, which Palladio 
thought the piii ricco ed ornato ediftcio che forse sia 
stato fatto dagli antichi in qua, was adorned by sculp- 
tures from the chisel of Danese Cattaneo, son of Pietro 
da Salb, of Tommaso Lombardo, of Girolamo of Fer- 
rara, of Girolamo Campagna, of Giovanni Grapiglia, of 
Francesco Chiona, of Camillo Mariani, of Virgilio and 
Agostino Rubini, 1 and others. 

Less bold than Sansovino, more faithful to the arch- 
itectural maxims of the classical period, Andrea Palladio 
designed the churches of San Giorgio and of the Re- 
dentore, the facade of San Francesco della Vigna, the 
Convent of the Carita, and other buildings ; graceful 
yet imposing, but too severe in their symmetry, too 
correct, too studied. Venice was no lit theatre for the 
measured art of Palladio, which found itself more at 
home among his native hills, where the surrounding 
landscape helped to modify the impression of rigidity, 
and the style assumed a suavity of composition and 
of line, a serene nobility of form, bringing repose to 
the mind and satisfaction to the eye. Venice, on the 
contrary, created by man, reflects the imaginative 
audacity of man even in her architecture, which is 
mobile, varied, and fantastic, like the colours of sunset, 
or the shimmer on the waters of the lagoon. Such an 
art could not find favour with the Vicentine master, 
who shrank from ail that was capricious or fantastic. 

The Venetian Da Ponte was the architect of the 
severe but vigorous prison buildings at the Ponte della 
Paglia, the bridge at Rialto, and the great hall of the 

1 Arch, di Stato, Proc. di San Marco, De Supra, Libro Gassier. 


Tana, at the arsenal. But his chief claim to merit lies 
in the fact that he saved the Ducal Palace from an out- 
rageous restoration. On the night of December 20, 
1577, fire dalli camini di alcume stanlie de scudieri 
del Ser m0 Principe, 1 spread through the Palace with 
terrible fury, destroying the Sala dello Scrutinio and 
the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, in which the paintings 
of Gentile da Fabriano, of the Vivarini, of Carpaccio, 
of Titian, of Pordenone, of Tintoret and Veronese, all 
perished, and the whole building was seriously damaged. 
The Senate consulted various architects on the subject 
of restoration, among others Palladio ; had their advice 
been accepted, the glorious Palace would have been 
ruined forever, for those masters, enamoured of the 
classical style and not understanding the play of fancy 
which marks the style of the Middle Ages, submitted 
a purely romanesque design for an entirely new dwell- 
ing for the Doge. By good luck among the fifteen 
architects consulted there was one who expressed the 
opinion that in carrying out the restorations not a mould- 
ing, not a line, in the original plan should be modified. 
The Senate prudently adopted the advice given by Da 
Ponte, and in eight months he carried out the restora- 
tion with the profoundest respect for the audacities of 
construction and the marvellous fantasy of design which 
characterise the Ducal Palace and make it a building 
unique in all the world. 

And here we may be pardoned a digression on the 
topic of fires, which at that period were of a ruinous 
character, partly because so much wood was used in 
construction, partly because the means for putting them 
out were so defective. The Ducal Palace itself was fre- 
quently devastated. We may give a condensed account 
of a fire taken from Sanudo's Diaries, though it would 
be better read in the vigorous simplicity of the original 

1 Arch, di Stato, Cercmoniali, I, p. lxiv, t". 


~- -~ ' - . 



Statues by Saksoviho ik the Loggetta. 
A — Madonna and Child with S. Giovannino. 
B — Peace. C — Minerva 


On the night of August 16, i532, fire broke out in 
the Malombra Palace at San Maurizio. This palace 
had lately been bought for twenty thousand ducats by 
the Procurator Giorgio Cornaro. The house was a 
splendid pile, the finest in Venice and one might even 
say in all Italy ; it was lordly, magnificent, and com- 
modious, and in a few hours it was burned to the 
ground. The cause was not unknown. The Cornaro 
family owned the famous commandery in Cyprus, and 
thence had been sent many cases of sugar and of cotton. 
To dry the sugar in the storerooms, braziers were 
lighted, and the servants forgot to put them out com- 
pletely at night. The beams caught fire from the heat, 
and about five o'clock in the morning, when all were 
sleeping, the flames burst out with terrible fury. Some 
passers-by saw the smoke, and gave the alarm by 
thundering on the door ; but the household was sound 
asleep. The doors were at last burst open, and every- 
body lent a hand to carry the gold and silver and 
strong boxes full of specie over to the houses of the Zorzi 
and the Malipiero, and to throw out of window the 
heavier furniture and the bales of cotton and sacks of 
sugar, while the women and children ran distracted 
through the chambers, where many had entered to help 
in putting out the flames and many more to rob under 
cover of the confusion. Most of the property which 
had belonged to the Queen of Cyprus was either burned 
or destroyed, along with many pictures, a famous marble 
Roman bust that was in itself worth a fortune, and the 
rich decoration of the apartment of Francesco Corner, 
Bishop of Brescia. One brave man having climbed up, 
through flames and smoke, to the garrets, was unable to 
return and had to come down by means of a rope. The 
facade fell with a tremendous crash, burying three men 1 

1 Sanudo, Diari LVI, 792: "26 agosto, i532. Da poi disnar fo 
Pregadi. Fu leto una suplication de una madre, de un Alvise de Simon di 
I' Arsenal qual e morto al incendio di Gha Corner, et ha 7 sorelle e il padre 
vivo, et fu posto per tutto il Golegio che soldi 1' avea al zorno al Arsenal 
oltre li soldi 6 siano dati a la madre per il suo viver." 


and seriously injuring a fourth. The crackling of the 
beams, the crash of falling masonry, the cries of 
the people, were mingled with the sullen pealing of the 
bells of Santa Maria Zobenigo, San Vitale, and San 
Maurizio. " Io verso nona " — proceeds Sanudo — 
1 ' havendo grandissimo dolor e tan to che piu di dir non 
posso, s v per il privato che questa casa e mia amicissima, 
si per il pubblico che e la piu bela caxa de Venezia . . . 
andai per barcha per canal grande ... a veder il fuogo, 
qual erra si grande e di tanta bampa che mi spaventai 
... da poi andai a cha Malipiero da ser Jacomo Corner 
a confortarlo dicendoli : Deus dedit, Deus abstulit." On 
the borders of the noblest waterway in the world next 
morning there was nothing to be seen but the black 
and smoking ruins of the magnificent building ; not a 
stone remained in its place save the pillars of the entrance 
from the canal and two walls, so shaky that it terrified 
one to look at them. The Cornaro family immedi- 
ately began to rebuild the Palace, and entrusted the work 
to Sansovino, who raised the imposing edifice we admire 
to-day, in which the splendour of Renaissance art, now 
at its maturity, already shows some sign of decadence. 

At the close of the Cinquecento architects had become 
more and more devoted to the antique and were there- 
fore confined to the monotonous repetition of the same 
motives. This provoked a natural revolt against the 
rules of Vitruvius, and builders began to break up the 
lines, to pile on moulding, to confound the orders, to 
curve the cornices, to twist the columns, to cover the 
angles and edges with volutes, projections, ornaments ; 
thus, in a word, opening the way to the irregularities 
and caprices of the barocco style. 

So too in sculpture the example of Michelangelo, 
who had pushed his art to a point where only his 
superhuman genius could sustain and govern it, was 
followed by Sansovino and his pupils, who, in revolt 
against servile imitation of the antique, went to the 

The Facade of the Church of S. Zaccaria (i 4^7— i 5 1 5) 


opposite extreme, and did violence to the due serenity 
of art by letting fancy run riot, and by wringing from 
the marble figures characterized by unnatural pose, 
convulsive movement, and flying drapery. Among 
Sansovino's pupils we must mention Pietro da Salo, 
and his son Domenico ; Francesco Segala ; the Paduan 
Zotto; the Garrarese Danese Gattaneo, who carved the 
Apollo on the well in the cortile of the Zecca ; Giro- 
lamo da Ferrara, author of the bas-reliefs of the 
Loggetta, and Tiziano Minio, who, with Desiderio of 
Florence, modelled the cover of the font at San Marco. 
In the midst of this debasement of taste, Alessandro 
Vittoria, a native of Trent, distinguished himself by the 
richness of his fancy ; he bent his talent to the most 
delicate work, but also at times allowed it to run riot in 
the strangest fashion. His architectural achievements, 
such as the Chapel of the Rosario at SS. Giovanni e 
Paolo, the Scuola di San Girolamo at San Fantin, Pa- 
lazzo Balbi on the Grand Canal, appear to us poor in 
spite of their elaborate ornamentation ; but his stuccoes 
on the ceiling of the Library and on the vault of the 
Scala d' Oro are bold in design and display the vigour 
of an impatient genius ; they are carried through with a 
rapidity of execution that recognises no obstacles and 
goes in search of difficulties, that shrinks before nothing 
that is bizarre provided it be bold and novel. Vittoria 
proves himself an able artist in his portrait busts, re- 
markable for their fidelity to life and their excellent 
modelling. Vittoria's followers, like Tiziano Aspette, 
author of the colossal statue in the atrium of the Mint 
standing opposite the more correct work of his fellow- 
pupil Girolamo Campagna, lacked their master's genius, 
exaggerated his defects, and dragged his art into the 
wildest excesses. 

It was painting, however, rather than architecture 
or sculpture, which really reflected the life of Venice 
during the Renaissance. 


The artistic sap, so fresh and rich in Jacopo Bellini, 
flowed not merely through the family tree in the 
persons of Gentile and Giovanni, but spread through 
all branches of the Venetian school. The bright light 
of Jacopo's genius, and the less vigorous but no less 
pure glow of Antonio Vivarini, penetrated even the 
humblest workshops, and fired some lively intellect 
who then and there began his novitiate to art. Thus 
from the little school of Lazzaro Bastiani (d. i5i2), 
which held its modest way between the pupils of 
Vivarini and of Bellini and preserved the native tra- 
ditions, there emerged, as it would seem, that great 
artist Carpaccio and two other worthy companions, 
Benedetto Diana and Giovanni Mansueti, both of whom 
later on drew towards the Bellini. 

Giovanni Bellini, el piii excellente pittor d'ltalia, as 
Sanudo calls him, exercised a stronger influence on 
Venetian painting than any other master, and his teach- 
ing set the standard and gave the direction to numerous 
followers, among whom we may mention Francesco Bis- 
solo, Niccolo Rondinelli of Ravenna, Gristoforo Gaselli 
of Parma, Lattanzio of Rimini, Andrea Previtali, Giro- 
lamo da Santa Groce, Pier Maria Pennacchi, Vincenzo 
Catena, Bartolomeo Veneto, and many others, who, if 
not directly pupils of the Venetian master, at least came 
under his influence, such as Bartolomeo Montagna, and 
Giovanni Bonconsigli, called Marescalco, both from 
Vicenza, Boccaccio Boccaccino of Cremona, and another 
Lombard who still hides his name and whom we have 
agreed to call the pseudo Boccaccino. Giambellino's 
latest pupils were his most illustrious, — Palma il Vec- 
chio, Lorenzo Lotto, and the two giants Zorzon da Cas- 
telfranco and Titian. The genius of Giovanni Bellini did 
not wane with advancing years ; every work of his brush 
is stamped with a nobility and grandeur truly Latin, a re- 

Eose that is never ruffled, that elevates and illuminates all 
e produced, a sentiment at once profound and sincere. 


mm * 


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The Madonna and tlje Child surrounded by 
SS. Giobbe, Giovanni Battista, Scbastiano, 
Francesco, and Ludovico. Altar decoration 
by Giovanni Bellini (i^79 ?) for tbe Cburcli 
of S. Giobbe. (Venice, Academy) 


When Albert Diirer came for the second time to the 
lagoons in the year i5o6 and left the imprint of his 
artistic point of view upon the work of Venetian 
painters, more especially upon that of Giambellino, 
the German master wrote thus to his friend Pirk- 
heimer : "I wish you had an opportunity of being 
here. I am sure the time would not hang heavy on 
your hands, for there are many able men and true 
artists in this city." x These were the artists who mark 
the almost imperceptible change from the old epoch to 
the new. Each of them seems to possess a double 
personality, the one looking with longing eyes to the 
future, the other dwelling with affectionate gaze upon the 
past. In the pictures of Gentile Bellini, of Benedetto 
Diana, of Giovanni Mansueti, of Vettor Garpaccio, 
the most genial transcriber of Venetian life, we note a 
certain aspect of things, a certain arrangement of the 
externals of life, which belong to the Middle Ages ; 
but on the other hand the style of the dress, the fur- 
nishings of the house, the monuments, the architecture, 
betray the new movement, and convince us that the 
artist is already living in a new world. In fact, we 
no longer get the old rigidity of form, but in its place 
movement and warmth, the joyous imprint of the time 
and place, a life full, serene, graceful, and yet at the 
same time we note a strange blending of another senti- 
ment which would appear to be opposite and contra- 
dictory, an intimate sense of sweetness, a winning 
shyness which both in art as in life is frequently 
synonymous with sincerity. The study of life which 
these artists approach with passion seems stamped with 
a timidity which in the expression of feeling retains a 
flavour of the Middle Ages. 

Painting in the Quattrocento, which was not yet 
master of all technical means, and preserved a childlike 

1 Thausing, Diirer-Geschichte seines Lebcns und seiner Kunst. Leipzig, 

vol. 1. — 8 


simplicity which is very attractive, had received a new 
and notable impulse from the method of oil painting 
which Antonello da Messina learned from the Flemish 
painters, at that time numerous in Italy. He cannot 
be said to have introduced it, for it was already known, 
but he certainly brought it to perfection in Venice 
when he went there towards the close of ilx^k or at 
the beginning of 1^75. We have already observed 
that the artists of the Trecento, born mid the luminous 
sky and waters of the lagoon, were fully alive to the 
spirit of colour, though their mastery of form was still 
imperfect ; and colour grew ever more vivid, more 
harmonious in the hands of painters in the following 
century, who, with the help of the new technique, 
were able to educate their eye and their imagination 
to grasp the vision of buildings which reflected the 
splendours of the Orient, the movement of form 
in the fetes of the city, the infinite variety of costume 
and of dress. And so not only in the pictures of 
Garpaccio and of Gentile Bellini do we get the luminous 
splendour of their home, but also in the divine Ma- 
donnas of Giambellino, in the pensive saints of Barto- 
lomeo and Alvise Vivarini, of Gima da Gonegliano, 
and of Marco Basaiti, the gorgeous robes, the crimson 
brocades, the shot silks are but a reflection of the 
dazzling sumptuousness of Venetian life. Later masters 
could add but little to this strong yet limpid harmony 
of colour, though they changed and transformed the 
aim of art at the opening of the Ginquecento. 

The primitive period of painting, so attractive in its 
naive realism, in the modesty and simplicity with 
which it expressed placid pleasure and calm suffering, 
pursued its natural course till it blossomed into the ani- 
mation and grandiosity of movement, the superb grace 
and triumphant portrayal of an abundant life, in the 
masters of the Cinquecento, whose works were studied 
and judged by the eyes of those who made them and of 

The Madonna and SS. Liberale and Francesco — a painting 
by Zorzon da Gastelfranco in the Cathedral of Castelfranco. 
(c. i5oo) 


contemporaries who ordered them and appreciated them, 
not by the eyes of those who to-day consider and in- 
terpret, at the distance of centuries and in obedience 
to the sentiments of their own age, these creations of a 
genius which flourished in the full flowering period of 
beauty and of delight. 1 

The first to free himself from the early timidity was 
Zorzon da Gastelfranco, who in the midst of the allure- 
ments of carnal beauty managed to preserve a lofty and 
poetic sentiment. His life is veiled in mystery; but 
the joys and sorrows which agitated this mighty spirit 
are laid bare in his imaginative work, which by a 
strange but hardly ridiculous analogy have won for him 
the title of the Byron of painting. 2 

Following this marvellous painter, who seems to 
have had in his soul the echo of two centuries, there 
opens the period of joyous sensuousness. The artists 
of the Cinquecento, with the exception of a solitary 
thinker here and there, show us the most seductive 
aspects of life and a youthful play of the senses without 
bestowing too much thought on the inner meaning of 
things. It may be that any commotion of their spirit- 
ual natures would only have injured the art of these 
masters, which grasped to the full all external beauty, 
and rendered it with a magnificent certainty of effect 
which was lacking in their naiver predecessors and was 
degraded in their followers of a corrupter age. They 
studied, above all, the more obvious and striking picto- 
rial effects, grace of pose, bold foreshortening, all the 
contrasts and play of light and shade. They did not 
aim at ideality or at profundity of thought ; they paid no 
attention to historic accuracy, content to be true to the 
object before their eyes ; and whatever be their subject, 
their models are the nobles in their gorgeous robes and 

1 Wolfllin, Die Klassische Kunst. Eine Einfuhrung in die Italienische Re- 
naissance. Monaco, 1 90 1. Hillebrand, Le probleme de la forme dans lesarts 
fguralifs, trad. Paris, 1903. 

2 Davesies de Pontes, Et.sur la peint. vin., p. 5i. Paris, 1887. 


the women of the golden hair, their setting sumptuous 
hanquets and splendid festivals. Even in sacred pic- 
tures one would take them to be pagans who painted 
these Ghrists and Madonnas, these angels and saints ; 
and the sublime sorrows of Christianity are transformed 
into a smiling and graceful mythology, wherein we 
meet with visions of joy, the gaiety of life, the conse- 
cration of all the pleasures which mind, eye, or hand 
can wring from art. The age desired no more, or, to 
be more accurate, it would have demanded from art 
seductions more potent still. Pietro Aretino, that 
great cynic, is a proof; he writes to the Marquis of 
Mantua promising to secure from Sansovino " Una 
Venere si vera e si viva, che empia di libidine il pen- 
siero di ciascuno che la miri," and from Sebastian del 
Piombo a picture of a beautiful new subject, not one of 
the ordinary sacred subjects, but ■• senza hipocrisie, ne 
stigmati, ne chiodi." 1 

Titian may almost be taken as a living type of the 
age. He comes before us, dominating as a genius, 
magnificent as a king. * ' Fu il piii bello e maggiore 
imitatore della natura," says Vasari ; and in truth 
never was painting richer, stronger, more veracious 
than in the hands of this master colourist. No one 
has ever more faithfully rendered the tremors of the 
body, the delight of the senses ; but all play of intimate 
feeling is banished from Titian's work, and he vibrates 
to the passionate worship of the beautiful alone. The 
pulsing of the heart, the struggles of the mind, never 
arrest the painter for a moment ; he is content to 
reproduce with matchless mastery the life of the 
senses as dominant over the life of the spirit. He has 
the repose of strength ; a mind that neither listens nor 
interrogates, and accepts life as it is, without attempt- 
ing to sound its mysteries. That is not to say that he 

1 Cf. Luzio, P. Aretino nei primi suoi anni a Venezia e la Corte dei 


could not read the hearts of men ; some of his portraits, 
like some by Tintoret and Lotto, give us in masterly 
fashion the character of their subject. But in order to 
achieve this result these artists required leisure for close 
converse with their sitters, uninterrupted by the press 
of daily life. Then indeed they could produce a por- 
trait of such striking ability, free at once from meticu- 
lous attention to details and from superficial indifference, 
cutting right down to the spirit of the man with such 
subtlety of psychological intuition that their brush 
recalls to us the searching portraiture we meet with in 
the despatches of the Venetian Ambassadors. 

Titian reigns like a sovereign over the glorious com- 
pany of artists, his contemporaries : Sebastian del Pi- 
ombo, the happiest follower of Giorgione ; Palma il 
Vecchio, a supreme artist in some respects, especially his 
drawing, in which he surpasses Titian himself ; Bonifa- 
zio, who can only be really studied at Venice, where his 
genius and his mastery in colour appear in full splen- 
dour ; Lorenzo Lotto, one of the few who attempted the 
expression of character, especially in some of his por- 
traits, notably in that of the Bishop de' Rossi in the 
Naples Museum ; the Trevisan Rocco Marconi, who 
worked from i5o5 and felt the influence of Palma and 
copied his transparent colouring ; Pordenone, vigorous 
as draughtsman and painter ; Schiavone, remarkable for 
his rich impasto ; the two Brescians, Romanino, full of 
imagination and strong in colour ; and Moretto, a rapid 
workman though never slovenly, and master of the 
great portrait painter Moroni, born at Bondio in the 
territory of Bergamo about i525 ; Paris Bordon, in 
whose pictures, notably in the " Fisher's Ring," we 
catch an echo of the sumptuous atmosphere of Venice ; 
Bassano, the faithful interpreter of field life ; and so on, 
— a veritable army of geniuses, who one and all pos- 
sessed the sense of colour, though not all were masters 
of form. 


Among Venetian artists of this period Tintoret dis- 
plays the highest imagination, and in some of his 
pictures he is the supreme draughtsman ; Paolo Vero- 
nese is the most attractive colourist. He is indeed the 
poet of Venetian pomp, the lyrist of light and colour, 
the most varied and luminous interpreter of an art that 
sought to express splendour and beauty. Gaiety is the 
note of his genius, a gaiety that willingly lends itself to 
fancy and caprice. On his canvases thought, feeling, 
emotion, are transformed into plastic grace of marvellous 
beauty, into a consummate reproduction of all that is 
external and that appeals to the senses. He creates a 
world of varied delight ; seductively voluptuous women, 
chubby children, smiling, with smooth brows, strong 
men and blond youths, downcast glances, eyes of flame, 
white breasts and rich brown skin, dwarfs and giants, 
princes and courtiers. His pictures are so skilfully 
composed, so fresh is the tone, so harmonious the 
colouring, that one can fancy nothing more attractive, 
brilliant, joyous. 

Amid all the attractive manifestations of this art 
which satisfies the eye but does not touch the spirit, 
Tintoret alone, that vehement and passionate soul, 
gives us side by side the luminous splendour of the 
heavens and the terror of profound and dark abysses. 
In some of his pictures, the " Bacchus and Ariadne," 
for example, the light is diffused over the water in a 
thousand ripples, all is charged and palpitates with joy ; 
in others, as in the " Miracle of Saint Mark," dramatic 
energy and skill in painting unite in a sublime har- 
mony ; in others again, as in the " Crucifixion," a livid 
light breaks through the clouds, the air is full of a 
deep dejection, the tragic spirit is the master's strong- 
est inspiration. Innumerable and varied images seem 
to have been born ceaselessly in Tintoret's tumultuous 
brain. With him there died that breath of supreme 
beauty which had passed over the art of Venice. 


C -73 

± s 

• - © 


In Venetian painting of the Renaissance, from the 
earliest masters to the last of the Cinquecento, it is 
remarkable that the protagonist of the scene is hardly 
ever an individual, but the crowd. Some of the reli- 
gious pictures of the Quattrocento and some portraits of 
Titian, Tintoret, Lotto, and other masters of the Cin- 
quecento do suggest a concentration of interest in a 
single figure ; but in pictures representing historical 
subjects where many figures are introduced no one of 
them particularly arrests the attention, and the eye 
wanders satisfied over the joyous throng with all its 
variety of colour and of movement. The pictures of 
Carpaccio and Bellini give us Venice as their protago- 
nist, — Venice in her public pomp and ceremony laying 
the Orient under contribution for her splendour and 
her colour ; in the works of later masters we catch an 
echo of the gaiety of the Venetian populace. The 
Florentine masters, even when their subject is complex 
in composition, usually fasten the attention upon some 
leading personage ; the Venetians, on the contrary, give 
us a general picture of a crowd in which no single, 
isolated figure is dominant. This difference may, per- 
haps, explain why from the very first the charming 
scenes of Gentile Bellini and Carpaccio met with such 
favour, while Mantegna, in whose work the crowd is 
a mere accessory, and the individual isolated, vigorous, 
sculpturesque, is dominant in a setting of classical 
arcades and vestibules, found but scanty approval in 
the lagoons. 

There is a wide difference between the whole tone 
of public life in Florence and in Venice. At Florence a 
few individuals of special energy or astuteness dominate 
history and stand out supreme ; such were Farinata, 
Dante, Giano della Bella, Michele di Lando, Lorenzo 
de' Medici, Machiavelli, Guicciardini. At Venice, on 
the other hand, the individual was absorbed in the 
State, which refused independent initiative to the 


individual and aimed at co-ordinating the action of each 
member of the community with the movement of the 
whole. No personality was permitted to emerge and 
take up a position hostile to the Republic, lest the light 
of liberty should be obscured by a throne. The am- 
bitions of the Medici would have found no fitting soil 
in Venice. 

As in public life, so in art. The Tuscan artist with 
his brush or with his chisel presents us with a clearly 
defined portrait of the leading men of his day, of his 
dearest friends or his most loathed enemies ; and with 
such patient care would he study the appearance of 
these that we find actual portraits of distinguished 
Florentines included in great pictorial compositions or 
carved upon public monuments, — for example, Dona- 
tello's portrait of Francesco Soderini on the Campanile 
of the Duomo under the guise of Jeremiah. In the 
frescoes of the Brancacci Chapel we can distinctly recog- 
nise the likenesses of Masolino, Masaccio, Filippino, 
Botticelli, Pollaiuolo. In the duomo at Orvieto Luca 
Signorelli has introduced the portraits of himself and 
many of his friends, Niccolo, Paulo, and Vitellozzo 
Vitelii, Giovan Paulo and Orazio Baglioni. Venetian 
painters, it is true, sometimes introduce into their 
pictures the portrait of a patron or of a friend, but 
these are lost in the general crowd, do not strike the 
eye at once, and have no particular distinction unless 
it be where a patrician has caused himself to be painted 
close by Christ or the Virgin, not as an act of devotion 
but as a confirmation of his superiority, for the people 
when worshipping the divinity would at the same time 
bow the knee to those who ruled the State. As a rule, 
however, in Venetian pictures the individual is lost in 
the joyous throng. Thus Venetian art unconsciously 
expresses the political idea to which the Republic owed 
her greatness and her independence, — the principle 
that the individual must be merged in the State. 

The Presentation of the Child Jesus before Simeon 
— altar decoration by Carpaccio (i5io) for the Church 
of S. Giobbe, (Venice, Academy) 


WHEN Venice began gradually to lose the profits 
she had hitherto drawn from her colonial 
enterprises, she turned to account the develop- 
ment of taste produced by the Renaissance, and both 
with a view to her own embellishment and also as a 
source of revenue, she surrounded herself with all the 
glories of art. One form of art especially attracted 
her, — that which spread from the studios of Bellini/ 
Titian, and Tintoret, and eventually reached the work- 
shops of the humbler craftsmen, creating a new industry 
in artistic objects which throughout Italy and more espe- 
cially in Venice, at that epoch, were the necessary and 
natural complement to the fine arts. But while in other 
countries artistic industries appeared as the inevitable 
but not necessarily mercenary outcome of the study ol 
form and only later assumed the character of a business, 
at Venice the idea of converting this artistic movement 
into a source of gain took shape at once under the 
pressing need created by the decline in commerce and 
the compulsion to find new sources of revenue and new 
outlets for industrial activity. In short, in the new 
condition of affairs Venice endeavoured to become an 
industrial State, recognising that she was outstripped 
in maritime supremacy and in commerce ; and the in- 
dustrial movement joined hands with the arts. The 
supreme geniuses who had adorned the city with mon- 
uments, statues, pictures, gladly lent their aid to draw 
together all the arts which contributed to the embellish- 
ment, the comfort, and the needs of daily life in a single 


effort of youthful enterprise bent on producing a result 
that should be at once pleasant to the eye and stately 
in design. These great masters entered the modest 
workshops of the wood-carver, the smith, the stone- 
cutter, the carpenter, the goldsmith, educating them 
and freely assisting, by counsel, advice, and example, 
to develop the feeling and taste of the artisan, who 
under their guidance frequently reached the summit of 
his profession. The arts were naturally allied to each 
other, and churches, palaces, statues, pictures, furni- 
ture, dress, ornaments, jewelry, display that instinct for 
beauty which was common to all. Thus Venice devel- 
oped those noble traditions which led her to consecrate 
her art to faith and to the fatherland, and to wed a rich, 
varied, and joyous harmony of design and colour to the 
trade in objects of luxury considered as a symbol of 
her greatness. That is why the government never 
ceased to foster the growth of industries by appointing 
officers to supervise them and by the concession of 
privileges of citizenship to foreign artificers who chose 
to settle in the city. 

The industries which owe their value not merely to 
skill of hand but also to the play of the intelligence are 
those which are most directly connected with the fine 
arts. Such, for example, is the craft of the bronze- 
founder, which becomes a truly noble art when model- 
ler and founder are united in the same person. 

The Paduan school of founders influenced Venetian 
craftsmen for many years. The glory of the Paduan 
school was Bellano, master of the Paduan Andrea 
Briosco, known as Grispo in Latin and in Italian by his 
nickname of lliccio (i46o-i532), author of the can- 
delabrum in the Santo at Padua, a marvellous play of 
caprice in which, as in a dream, tritons, harpies, 
nereids, satyrs, centaurs, are wreathed together. By 
some, Briosco, and by others Antonio Rizzo, is credited 
with the bust supposed to represent Andrea Loredan, — 


a work of such exquisite modelling that we are forced 
to conclude that it was wrought from a death-mask. 
All that was most beautiful and most precious from 
the foundries of Padua went to enrich the dwellings of 
Venetian nobles, and those bronzes, great and small, 
the statuettes, vases, mortars, candlesticks, ink-pots, 
knockers which are now scattered among museums and 
the collections of amateurs, all display an originality of 
design and a vigour of execution which are admirable. 

The Venetian master Alessandro Leopardi (d. i522) 
possessed still greater grace than the Paduan craftsmen. 
Leopardi completed the statue of Colleoni, modelled 
and cast the three bronze sockets for the flagstafls on 
the Piazza di San Marco and probably the two massive 
figures of the Mori on the clock-tower, who strike the 
bell founded by Simone Gampanato and delicately orna- 
mented with the symbolical lion. Leopardi had, as 
a companion in the mint (i484), Vittore Gambello, 
commonly called Gamelio, sculptor, founder, gold- 
smith, and dye-sinker. His are the twelve apostles in 
the choir of Santo Stefano, and the two plaques in half 
relief, now in the Accademia, which at one time 
adorned the tomb of Gambello's brother Briamonte, 
founder and jeweller, as was their third brother, 

The door of the Presbytery of San Marco, by San- 
sovino, and still more the Cappella Zeno, prove the 
height of excellence which bronze-founding had reached 
in Venice. Cardinal Battista Zeno died on May 8, 
i5oi, leaving the bulk of his fortune to the Republic 
on condition that a bronze mausoleum should be 
erected to his memory in San Marco. The magnificent 
monument was begun in i5o3 and finished in i5i4- 
It stands in the chapel of the Madonna della Scarpa, 
which it adorns with its statues, friezes, the effigy of 
the Cardinal, and the altar with its columns, bas-reliefs, 
and three larger statues. These beautiful works were 


designed and modelled by Antonio Lombardo and 
Paolo Savin, and cast by Giovanni Alberghetto and 
Pietro Campanato. 

The art of bronze-working, so sumptuous in the 
statues and monuments of Venice, did not lose this 
characteristic when applied to objects less noble, such 
as the guns and cannon founded by Alberghetto dei 
Conti and Campanato, and domestic utensils modelled 
by distinguished artists like Sansovino and Vittoria. 
The skilful touch of the chisel vanquished the rigidity 
of the material, and gave it a plastic softness as of wax 
in some of the medals and plaques by Matteo da Pasti 
(flor. i446, d. 1490), of Sperandio Savelli (c. i425, 
d. after i5o4), of Giovanni Cavino (c. 1 500-1670), of 
Bartolomeo Gruato (d. i528), of Domenico Veneziano 
(flor. i548), of Valerio Belli (c. i468, d. i548), of 
Andrea Spinelli of Parma (i5o8, d. 1549). 1 

After the middle of the Cinquecento the caprice of 
artists in bronze surpassed all bounds in the search 
for new forms. Correctness of outline was held for 
coldness, and the productions of the bronze-founder's 
craft became overstudied, fantastic, bizarre. It was 
Jacopo Sansovino and Alessandro Vittoria who gave 
this new, capricious, and somewhat degraded imprint 
to the whole art of Venice, but more especially to the 
art of bronze-founding. This exaggeration of orna- 
ment — always carried out, however, by skilful hands 
— is illustrated in Vittoria's two candelabras, which 
were partially destroyed by the fire in the chapel of 
the Rosario at SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and in another 
candelabra of Vittoria's school (1677) to the left of 
the high altar at Santo Stefano. We see clearly the 
change that had come over decorative art after the 
date of Sansovino and Vittoria if we compare two 

1 Fabriczy, Medaillen der italienischen Renaissance. Leipzig. Fried- 
laender, Die italienischen Schaumunzen dcs funfzehnten Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 
1880. Armand, Les mddailleurs italiens. Paris, i883. Heiss, Les midair 
tears de la Renaissance. Paris, 1887. 

A — Candelabrum of Alessandro Vittoria (Venice, Museo 
Civico.) B — Candelabrum of Andrea Baruzzi Salodiano. 
(Second half of the XVI century.) (Venice, Chiesa della 


works by two Drescian masters : the twin candelabra 
in San Marco, given to the Republic by Bishop Alto- 
bello Averoldi, were made in the early years of the 
sixteenth century by MafFeo Olivieri of Brescia (b. 
1 484), they display all the exquisite taste of their 
epoch ; on the other hand, after the middle of the 
Cinquecento another Brescian from the Riviera di Salb, 
Andrea Baruzzi, son of Alessandro (b. I530), 1 modelled 
and cast the candelabra in the church of the Salute, 
undoubtedly a work of great beauty, but showing in 
its design and in its style the new characteristic of 

We must not forget to mention that humble relation 
of the noble art of bronze-founding, the pewterer's 
craft, as one of the crafts which flourished in Venice. 
Trade in Venetian pewter can be traced to an early 
date, but the craft was not recognised by the State 
before the year i432. The Mariegola, or by-laws of 
the guild, now unfortunately lost, contained important 
information as to technique. 2 The common objects in 
pewter, such as oil cruets and canisters, were una- 
dorned ; but lavorifini, such as cups, platters, trenchers, 

1 Fenaroli, Diz. degli artisti bresciani. Brescia, 1877. 

2 The Mariegola of the pewterers recorded complaints lodged on July 
11, i48o, on account of the debasement of the metal employed. The 
Provveditori del Comune accordingly fixed the standard of the amalgam to 
he employed in the finer pewter at lire XXV de stagno fin et in quello col- 
lado sia messo la sua tempera che sono unze do de marchixeta et unze do de 
rame. Item lire sie de stagno vecchio bon e fin. E da poi fonduto tuto 
insieme. Questa se intenda esser bona et fina karatada. To prevent falsifi- 
cation it was forbidden to hammer or file old pewter, and the exportation 
from Venice of the tools and the moulds for working in pewter was pro- 
hibited. The craftsmen were bound to stamp the work sent out from 
their shops con el suo nome con una Corona di sopra. On March 9, i5ao, 
the Council of Ten ordered that in place of the crown the stamp of San 
Marco should be used. Garzoni, in his Piazza Universale, gives us some 
information as to the method of working in tin or pewter. The molten 
metal was run into moulds of white tufa ; the rough cast was then 
placed on a lathe and finished off with a curved iron. The work was 
polished by use of a cloth and scouring sand. If the utensil was to be 
adorned by patterns or figures, the mould was made of clay. The master 
pewterers were for the most part Germans or Flemings. 


dishes, beakers, were embellished with borders and 
graceful patterns. 

The art of the goldsmith, the most refined of all the 
industrial arts, was notable in Venice for the elegance 
of its workmanship. Throughout the whole of the 
Ginquecento German goldsmiths continued to work in 
the lagoons 1 and held the esteem of their clients ; but 
their art gradually assimilated fresh elements and as- 
sumed new forms. An example of this emancipated 
art is to be seen in a coffer in the Trivulzio collection 
at Milan ; it is wrought in graceful arabesques and is 
the work of Paolo Rizzo, artist in damascene work, 
who in 1570 had a shop at the sign of the Colombina 
in the Ruga degli Orefici at Rialto. 2 Rizzo signed him- 
self Paulus Ageminius, and his works were in request 
among the great people of Italy who desired to possess 
cose rare et divine di tal arte. 3 It may be that in this 
same shop at the sign of the Colombina, another Rizzo, 
called Giovanni, zoiliero, worked in 1^76 for Duke 
Ercole I, on a great oblong diamond, fafto a facete 
ligato in una panizuola d'oro. 4 In 1674 the jewellers 
Delia Vecchia refused an offer from Henry III of 
26,000 golden crowns for a jewelled sceptre made 
by them; 6 and about the same date Antonio Pesaro 
sold to the Duke of Mantua for n5o ducats a silver 

1 In i4Q7 " Rigo Exler de Auspurgh todesco gioielliero in Venetia " 
made for the Marquis of Mantua "due gioielli grandi di capello, uno cum 
foggia di uccello pulicano, l'altro de una anisella [cum] uno unicorno cum 
piu diamanti, smeraldo, rubini, zaffiri, perle et una granata grande, ogni 
cosa lavorata alia todescha." Bertolotti, Le Arti Minori alia Corte di Man- 
tova (in the Arch. Stor. Lombardo, Vol. 5, p. 28.4. Milano, 1888) mentions 
a Maiteo Costan living at the SS. Aposloli, "orovoso do Bolzan, intagliator 
de pietrc pretiose " (Test, del June 21 in the deeds of Girolamo Parto). In 
1 571 (liacomo Cyinich, jeweller in Venice, offered to the Duke of Mantua 
a diamond for 3ooo crowns. In 1597 we find mention of a certain 
Guglielmo Ilelman. Bertolotti, op. cit. , pp. 3o8, 3 10. 

a Arch, di Stato di Mantua quoted by Luzio and Renier in their Mantova 
e Urbino, "Isabella d' Este ed Elisabetta Gonzaga," p. 3o5, n. 35. 

8 Fioravanti, Dello Sprcchio di Scientia Universale, p. 67. 

4 Bertolotti, op. cit., p. 57. 

6 Delia Croce, Hist, della pubb. et famosa cntrata di Henrico HI. 


casket, gilded and jewelled with rubies, diamonds, and 
emeralds. - Vases of delicate and graceful form with 
slender handles, wine-coolers chiselled with coats of 
arms and devices, bowls of silver gilt worked in re- 
pousse with figures and friezes jewelled and damas- 
cened, were turned out from these Venetian workshops . 
We also find a certain kind of silver known as Vene- 
tian, Avrought de relevo a sonde dal canto de dentro, et 
de fuora tatti bianchi cum figure in uno tondo di niello 
nel mezzo. 1 The binding of the Grimani Breviary by 
Alessandro Vittoria gives us a specimen of Venetian 
goldsmith's work which had now acquired a purely 
national character. 

Many of these objects in gold and silver were 
eagerly sought for in France, Germany, and England, 
but before leaving their native shores they were on 
view in the goldsmiths' shops in the Ruga degli 
Orefici at Rialto. 2 Francesco Sansovino mentions that 
he saw in the shop of Giovanni Rancato at the sign of 
the Rose, una tavola gioiellata di gran bellezza et di 
prezzo ; and in the shop of Anton Maria Fontana, una 
cassa di christallo molto grande, fatta di modo che le 
cose che vi si ripongono dentro, appariscono tutte 
scolpite di fuori. 3 

Among the host of artificers who never lacked the taste 
to invent and execute the most delicious ornamentation 

1 Campori, Race, di cataloghi ed inventari ined. (Inventario di guardaroba 
estense), p. n. Modena, 1870. 

3 In the sixteenth century the Scuola degli Orefici was rebuilt. It 
stood near the church of San Giovanni Elemosinario at Rialto, and was 
adorned by a picture by Sante Peranda and by a bronze statue by Girolamo 
Campagna. The goldsmiths had their altar and sepulchre in the church of 
San Giovanni Elemosinario. The guild included the following branches 
of the craft : jewellers, sham stone jewellers, diamond merchants, gem- 
setters alia Veneziana, gem-setters alia francese, gold-chain makers, filigree 
workers, solid gold-chain makers, silversmiths in large and small objects, 
chasers, repousse workers, diamond cutters, rock-crystal cutters, cutters 
of rubies, emeralds, and garnets, casters, enamellers, and engravers. 

■ Sansovino, Venetia citta nobilissima e singolare, with Martinoni's 
additions, p. 364- Venetia, i6G3. 


in repousse, niello, enamel, chasing, engraving, 1 we 
may recall a few names, Gasparino and Cristoforo 
Cesani (flor. 1/176-1491), Antonio Albrici (1478), 
Master Pagan (i488), Gian Andrea de Fiore (1496), 
Domenico de Dominici (i52o), Orso, a Jew of Man- 
tua (i524), Vincenzo Rossatto (1628), Felice Geserin 
(i528), Vincenzo Levriero (i532), Lodovico Caorlino 
(i532), Bernardino dei Morati (i532), Valerio Belli of 
Vicenza, who won for himself a distinguished name 
throughout the Veneto as an engraver of gems and 
crystal. Galeazzo Mondella of Verona, recorded by 
Vasari as one of the greatest glyptograjpjhers of his day, 
and Nicolb Avanzi, also from Verona, celebrated as a 
carver of cameos. Avanzi is mentioned by the Amo- 
nimo 2 of Morelli, and Vasari tells us that he had 
seen a lapis lazuli, largo ire dite, upon which was 
carved a Nativity with numerous figures. Vasari also 
describes as marvellous the engraved gems produced 
by the Ferrarese Francesco Annichini who lived in 
Venice and died in i545, leaving three sons, Luigi, 
Andrea, and Galisto, all of whom won renown at their 
father's craft. 

The produce of Venetian goldsmiths' shops, which, 
besides church plate and personal ornaments, also fur- 
nished highly finished arms and armour, found a ready 
sale, especially in the East, where the Venetian nobles 
themselves carried on the trade, as we gather from a 
passage in Sanudo's Diaries which runs thus: " A di 2, 
luni, ottobre i53i. Noto. Vidi questa matina in ruga 
de zoielieri in man di sier Francesco Zen di sier Piero, 
Baylo a Gostantinopoli, uno anello d'oro, sopra il qual 
e uno horologio bellissimo, qual lavora, dimostra le 

1 Paoletti (Rin. in Ven., p. i34) quotes the will of a jeweller, dated 
i4p,5, who speaks of zoie e perle azoielade, di vasi varnidi de avolio e de 
christallo, de yaspis e de calcedonia, de quari dcpentj e de musaicho, de saliere 
doro, de tabernacoli, de corniole. 

2 Notizia d'opere di discgno, publ. by Jacopo Morelli, and edited by 
Frizzoni, p. 176. Bologna, 1884. 


ore et sono, et quello vol mandar a vender a Costanti- 
nopoli." 1 Solyman II was Sultan at that time, and, 
unlike his predecessors, he took a great delight in 
jewels, goldsmith's Avork, and chased and nielloed 
armour. Accordingly, in March, i532, the sons of 
Pietro Zen, Bailo at Constantinople, and Giacomo Cor- 
ner, Pietro Morosini, and others entered into partnership 
and raised a sum of money in order to make a beautiful 
and costly work of art which they hoped to sell to 
the Sultan at a large profit. Among the partners 
interested in the speculation were the goldsmiths them- 
selves who carried out the commission. The precious 
object was entrusted to the patrician Marcantonio 
Sanudo to be taken to Constantinople ; his expenses 
were defrayed, and he received a honorarium of two 
thousand ducats and a monthly allowance. The 
object was indeed, as Sanudo says, cosa notanda et di 
fame memoria. It was a golden helmet enriched with 
gems and with four crowns ; * ' et il penachio d'oro 
lavorado excellentissimamente, sul qual e ligadi 4 
rubini, 4 diamanti grandi et bellissimi, valeno li dia- 
manti ducati 10 milia, perle grosse de carati 12 Tuna, 
uno smeraldo longo et bellissimo . . . una turchese 
grande et bellissima, tutte zoie de gran precio ; et nel 
penachio va una pena de uno animal che sta in aiere e 
vive in aiere, fa pene sottilissime et de vari colori, 
venuto de India . . . val assa danari. Se dice questo 
elmo, qual e sta fato per venderlo al Signor turco per 
ducati 100 milia e piii." If Marcantonio Sanudo suc- 
ceeded in getting more than a hundred thousand 
ducats for the helmet, he was to receive two per cent 
on the entire selling price as a solatium. 2 The business 
was carried to a successful issue, for Sansovino, speak- 
ing later on of this famous helmet with the four crowns, 
adds that it was the work of Lodovico Caorlino and 

1 Sanudo, Diart LV, i4- 

2 Ibid., 034, 635. 


Vincenzo Levriero, and that Solyman M principe di 6in- 
golar giuditio, et potente come sa ognuno, resto stupe- 
fatto di cosa tanto segnalata, et essi ne divennero ricchi." J 
These Caorlini must indeed have been ingenious 
craftsmen. They constructed a set of wooden autom- 
atons which, on September 16, i53a, they took to the 
Palace to show to his Serenity ; there was una puta di 
legno qual con certa arte camina, and which won the 
admiration of the Senators present. 2 It would seem 
that Marcantonio Sanudo, though a Senator, did not 
disdain to traffic in jewels, for on the occasion of his 
journey to Constantinople another company of specu- 
lators entrusted him with the sale of a saddle enriched 
with gems, also valued at one hundred thousand 
ducats. 3 Cuirasses, helmets, and shields were wrought 
in damascene by such celebrated masters as Giorgio 
Ghisi (i554); lances and partisans remarkable for 
their delicate chasing, swords and daggers with blades 
and guards adorned with flowers and patterns, stilettos 
and poniards with ivory handles studded with gems, 
encased in velvet sheaths, circled with golden bands 
and embroidered or sown with pearls, were pro- 
duced by such famous artificers as Vittore Gambello, 
the inventor of ' • uno modo novo de far arma de doso 
zoe curazine, pectorali et armadure . . . le quale sta- 
vano a prova et parangone de spada pugnale spedo 
partesana." 4 Venetian swords, either triangular or 
chamfered or pierced, were in great request ; so were 
the famous Venetian morions covered with crimson 
velvet and decorated in gilded bronze 6 reliefs ; also 

1 Sansovino, Venetia, p. 3C3. 

2 Sanudo, Diari, LV, 636. 

» Ibid. 

4 Supplied (i5o9) per privilegio di Vittore Camelio al Senato (in Bollettino 
di arti ind. e curiosita Venez., 1877, I, 60). 

r ° Viollet-le-Duc, Diet, du mob., VI, 357, 273. The royal armoury at 
Turin has four Venetian morions, — three of plain bronzed iron and one 
with a crimson velvet cap decorated in gilded bronze with the shield of 
Tie polo. 


a short, double-edged dagger, with chamfered blade 
and stumpy handle, called lingua di bove or, in 
common parlance, cinquedea. 

Attention was directed to perfecting fire-arms which 
should also be works of art. The Republic itself com- 
missioned its cannon from such eminent masters as 
Leopardi, his follower Gamillo Alberti, and the artists 
of the two bronze well-heads in the Gortile of the Ducal 
Palace, Niccolo de' Conti (i556) and the Ferrarese 
Alfonso Alberghetto (1559), 1 who are styled in the 
inscription conflatores tormentorum Illuslrissimae Rei- 
publicae. Mortars in iron, bronze, and copper were 
decorated with damascene or chasing ; muskets and 
harquebuses had stocks of ivory intarsia ; carronades 
were embellished by reliefs worked out by the burin 
and aqua fortis. 

Certain cities subject to Venice, Brescia for instance, 
with its Valtrompia, Belluno, Verona, and Serravalle, 
were world-renowned for arms of matchless temper. 
At the close of the fifteenth century Brescia contained 
two hundred armourers' shops inside its walls, and 
Charles V sent his armour, and Francis I his poniard, 
to be tempered and chased, 2 by Martinoni the Bres- 
cian. Andrea Ferrara, mentioned by Sir Walter Scott 
as the most famous armourer in Europe, belonged to 
Belluno. His family came originally from Fonzaso, 
and Andrea, along with his brother Giandonato, was 
master at the celebrated forge of Giambattista Barcel- 
loni at Fisterre, near Belluno. 3 Venetian armourers 
wrought also in hammered iron, but Venice does not 
give us the handsome work that was turned out during 

1 The Alberghetti were famous as founders of cannon and engineers, 
and we find them employed by the State from 1487 to 1792. 

2 The three splendid suits of armour which belonged to the Marti- 
nengo and the Gambara families, and are now in the armoury at Turin, 
were made in Brescia. 

8 Pellegrini, Di un armaiuolo bellunese del sec. XVI (Arch. Veneto, T. X, 
p. 43). 


the Renaissance by Florence and Siena. At Venice 
they preferred bronze, and the craft of the locksmith 
was so neglected that the majority of keys came from 
Germany, 1 and display the ponderous style of the North 
unrelieved by any touch of Venetian grace. It was 
not till the end of the sixteenth century that the art 
of wrought-iron work developed in Venice ; appar- 
ently the craft came originally from England and had 
able followers, in France, Spain, Germany, Tuscany, 
and Milan, skilled at working iron into ornamental 
forms of various kinds for keys, knockers, or a hundred 
other objects of domestic use. 

Intarsia and carving also displayed richness and 
variety of form in Venice. To the earlier masters, the 
Moranzone, Ganozii, Cozzi, and Scalamanzo, whose 
chisels adorned the choir-stalls of the churches and 
fashioned the severe furniture of the early Venetians, 
there succeeded other famous artists, such as Paolo 
Savin, the author of the admirable bronzes in the 
Cappella Zeno (1607) ; Alessandro, son of Gristoforo 
Bregno, who carved the choir of the Carita (i53o), 2 
now destroyed ; Giorgio Veneziano, author of the choir 
at Messina (i54o), and Bernardino of Venice, frequently 
employed by the Estensi. In 1672 Emanuele Filiberto, 
Duke of Savoy, who had ordered at Venice un cabinetlo 
ossia studiolo di legno di noce con li suoi ornamenli, 
wrote to the Duke of Mantua saying that the Venetian 
wood-carvers were molto eccellenti. 3 The austere orna- 
mentation of the Middle Ages grew more graceful 
under the influence of the new style ; oak and walnut, 
the two favourite woods, were wrought into a profusion 
of leaves, volutes, masks, satyrs, monsters, chimeras. 
A delicate specimen of Venetian work of the early 
Ginquecento is the Ducal chair preserved in the treasury 

1 Urbani de Gheltof, Le% Arts indust., p. 25(). 
* Notizia d'op. di disegno, edit. Frizzoni, p. a36. 
8 Bertolotti, op. cit., p. 995. 


of San Marco. We find the same richness of decora- 
tion in the inlaid work of the cabinet-makers. Origi- 
nally they used little bits of black and white wood to 
make a kind of mosaic ; but when they discovered how 
to stain wood in various colours by means of boiling oil 
and paints, intarsia work alia certosina was carried to 
perfection by the Venetians, notably by Fra Giovanni 
of Verona (1469, d. i5o5), the author of many of the 
doors and seats in the Vatican. Graceful designs were 
invented for coffers, boxes, seats, high-backed chairs, 1 
while the intarsia in the choir of San Marco, begun 
in i486 by the Florentine Tommaso Astore, and con- 
tinued by Antonio and Paolo of Mantua, by the Ber- 
gamasque Bernardino Ferrante, by Fra Vincenzo of 
Verona and Fra Pietro of Padua, have all the softness of 
painting. Among foreign artists in this craft were the 
brothers Biagio and Pietra of Faenza, who between the 
years i5o4 and 1507 2 carved some of the ceilings in 
the Doge's Chambers, Vittore of Feltre, and Lorenzo, 
son of Vincenzo of Trent (i5i()), designers of the ceiling 
at the Scuola di San Marco, 3 Lorenzo of Pavia, who 
lived for long in Venice and was a first-rate worker in 
ivory and ebony intarsia, 4 the Fleming Alberto de 
Brule, who in 1597 was called in to finish the choir 
of San Giorgio Maggiore. At the close of the sixteenth 
century the intarsia of Federico Curelli was in great 
repute; we hear of " un guarnimento di lettiere, di 
casse, di tavole, et d'altri arnesi per una camera 
d'ebano e di avorio con lavori d'oro cosi peregrini, 
che e impossibil cosa narrarlo." 5 Armoires, cabinets, 
sideboards of handsome designs, were adorned not 
only with inlaid ivory, but also with friezes and 
figures of gilded bronze, and with chalcedony, agate, 

1 Jacquemart, Hist, du mobilier, Lib. I. 

2 Lorenzo, Monumenti, p. 129. 

8 TJrbani di Gheltof, Les Arts indust., p. 122. 

* Baschet, Aide Manuce, lettres et doc. Venise, 1867. 

5 Sansovino, Venetia, p. 364. 


cornelian, jasper of various veining, and a dozen 
other semi-precious stones, let into the wood. The 
little nuptial caskets, made to contain the dower 
and the jewels of the bride, now gave place to the 
great coffers of handsome construction whose fronts 
were decorated with coats of arms or relieved by 
ornaments in stucco or with paintings by the best 
artists, such as Zorzi da Castelfranco, Bonifacio, Andrea 
Schiavone. 1 

Among the industrial arts ceramics hold a high place. 
Skilled craftsmen from Faenza, Gastel Durante, Pesaro, 
Gubbio, Urbino, were welcomed in Venice. We have 
a precious monument, probably of faience work, in the 
highly glazed pavement of Cappella Lando in the church 
of San Sebastiano, executed in i5io, as an inscription on 
the tiles informs us. This pavement has three hundred 
and fifty tiles, which represent flowers, leaves, animals, 
fish, birds, shields, coats of arms, with much spirit in 
an arrangement of yellow, white, violet, and green. In 
the centre is a larger tile bearing the family coat. 
The famous dishes decorated with mythological subjects 
preserved in the Museo Givico display all the character- 
istics of faience, 2 though they are attributed l ( > Niccolo 
d'Urbino, who worked at Gastel Durante 3 ; they must 
have belonged to some noble family. All these works are 
by foreign craftsmen, but native Venetian work carried 

1 Zorzi of Castelfranco painted bucklers, cupboards, bedheads, coffers, 
adopting usually stories from Ovid. Bonifacio painted " recinti di letto, 
casse e simili cose poste in uso in quei tempi per delizie (Idle nbita- 
zioni ov'erano figurate istorie sacre e profane." Andrea Schiavone "lavo- 
rava molte volte per dipintori da banche, che per antico privilc^io del 
Senato avevano le loro abitazioni sotto ai portici della piazza di San Marco 
dipingendo nelle casse solite a vendersi istoriette, fogliami, grottesche ed 
altre bizzarrie." Ridolfi, Le maraviglie deW arte, Vol. I, pp. ia4, 3ao, 
384. Padova, i835. 

2 Argnani, // rinasc. delle ceram. maiolicate in Faenza, with an appendix 
of documents supplied by G. Malagola, p. 48. Faenza, 1898. 

3 Molinier, Venise, ses arts dicoratifs, p. 1^8. Paris, 1889. Morelli 
was in error when he thought he recognised the hand of Timoteo Viti in 
the designs for these plates, which were all intended for a single sideboard. 


out by Venetian painters (pic tores Maiolicarum) 1 was not 
wanting. When faience ware was once introduced into 
the lagoons, the Venetian fabric soon came to rival the 
best in Italy. Piccolpasso makes note of it, and gives 
a drawing of a Mulino di Vinegia per macinarl color i. 2 
In 1 545 Francesco Pieragnolo of Castel Durante carried 
the maiolica of the style of Pesaro, Gubbio, and Castel 
Durante to such a height of perfection that there is 
hardly a French inventory of the sixteenth century in 
which wc do not find mention of the faiences a la j aeon 
de Venise. 2, In i5o4, in an account of the expenditure 
of the Duke of Ferrara, Ave find noted, L. 2, per chu- 
delles sette de porcellana contrafacta di Venezia} Some 
years later, in 1578, a certain Leonardo Peringer, 
spechiarius in Marzaria, declares that he has found 
uno novo artijicio per fabbricare ogni sorte de porzelane h \ 
and in the same year Isabella d'Este made her seneschal, 
Alfonso Trotti, send her some cups (piadenelle) from 
Venice. We have, however, but scanty notices of 
Venetian manufactories and artificers. South Ken- 
sington Museum possesses a very fine plate which has 
this inscription on the bottom, In Venelia in contrada 

1 A certain Girolamo is so styled in the will of his wife, dated January 
1 5, 1 53 1 ; uxor magistri pictoris maiolicarum (Deeds of Giacomo de Grigiis) ; 
a proof that a whole class of maiolica painters existed. 

2 / tre libri deW Arte del vasajo by Gav. Cipriano Piccolpasso, of Durante 
(i548), first published in 1857 by the Stabilimento tipografico of Rome, 
under the editorship of Monsignor Antonio Caiani from the MS. belong- 
ing to Professor Raffaelli d'Urbania, which was afterwards sold in Eng- 
land. Piccolpasso thus speaks of Venetian ceramics: "Vinegia lavora la 
terra di Ravenna, e di Rimini, e di Pesaro per la migliore. Vero e che 
spesse volte operano di una sorte che si cava alia Battaglia " (p. 1). 

3 Molinier, op. cit., p. i5o. Lacroix (Les arts au moyen age. Paris, 
1879, p. 64) says: " Venise se fit une celebrite par ses faiences legeres 5 
reliefs repoussees." Under Henry III two workers in faience obtained 
leave to open a manufactory at Lyons, after proving that they possessed 
" la cognoissance et exsperience de faire la vaisselle de terre faeon de 
Venise." La Ferriere-Percy, Une fabrique de faience a Lion, p. 9. Paris, 

4 Gampori, Delia majolica e della porcellana di Ferrara. Modena, 1871. 

5 Urbani de Gheltof, Studi int. alia Ceramica Ven., p. 38. Venezia, 


de Sto. Polo in bolega de m. Lodovico. In the Foun- 
tain collection there is another on which is repre- 
sented the fall of Troy ; it has this inscription Fato in 
uenezia in Chaslello 1546 ; a third plate in the Bruns- 
wick collection says, 1588 zener Domenigo da Venecia 
feci in la bolega al ponle silo del andar a san polo. In 
the Museum of Sevres there is a cup which must be 
Venetian, as it has the following inscription : R. da 
madre suor zuana, 1596. The potters lived in the 
parish of San Polo, where, as we have seen, Masters 
Lodovico and Domenigo resided, and where a certain 
Guido Merlino, vasaro da Urbino, had his shop. 1 The 
art declined with the close of the century, but recovered 
soon after. 2 

Venice acquired still further glory from her glass- 
works, which reached their highest point during the 
Renaissance, so that the fame of the glass-blowers of 
Murano was known all over the world side by side with 
the names of the great Venetian painters. The art of 
the glass-workers, always especially favoured by the 
Republic, was divided into six branches, — the glass- 
blowers, fiolai (fioleri, verrieri, fornaseri), the crystal- 
makers, the looking-glass makers, the cutters of glass 
rods for beads, the bead-makers, and the glass-sellers. 
In the sixteenth century the craft of the glass-rod 
cutters gave rise to another branch (i5a5), the supia- 
lume, so called because the artisan worked with a lamp 
and a blow-pipe. This invention was due to Andrea 
Vidaore, who by this means made striped beads of 
various colours. Neither mould nor lathe was cm- 
ployed to produce those beautiful but fragile works of 
art which have all the charm of spontaneity. The 
red-hot mass of glass poured out of the furnace and 
was picked up with the end of a long blow-pipe. 

1 Molinier, op. cit., pp. 162, 166. 

- Davillier, Les orig. de la porcelaine en Europe, pp. 76, 77. Paris, 


The workman blew out a great glass bubble, and then 
with spatule and pincers, but without mould or com- 
pass or model, he wrought the glowing mass into light 
and graceful cups, vases, chalices, flowers, which took 
a ruby, emerald, or opal tint as the glass cooled. 
Fra Felix Faber, in his Evagaiorium (i48o), says : 
*' Non trovansi invero oggi nel mondo cosi preziosi 
vetrami, quali ivi (i. e., at Murano) tuttodi si fabbri- 
cano, ne artifici tan to industri che di fragil materia 
formino vasi di cotale eleganza da vincer quasi al 
paragone quelli d'oro, e d'argento e quelli tempestati 
di gioie." Sabellico 1 tells us how the glass was formed 
into chalices, carafes, cups, bowls, candelabras, orna- 
ments of innumerable forms and varied colour, while 
Garzoni adds : ' ' che non e cosa immaginabile al mondo 
che col vetro et col christallo non si operi, essendosi fatto 
fino a' castelli con torri, bastioni, bombarde etmuraglie, 
come nell' Ascensa talvolta si e visto." 2 Leandro 
Alberti, when praising enthusiastically the beautiful art 
of Murano, records that among other objects he saw 
" una misurata galea, lunga un braccio, con tutti i suoi 
fornimenti, tanto misuratamente fatti, che par quasi 
impossibile che di tal materia tanto proporzionatamente 
si siano potuti formare . . . e un organetto, le cui 
canne erano di vetro, lunghe da tre cubiti (dico le piu 
lunghe) condotte tanto artificiosamente alia loro misura, 
secondo la proportione sua, che datogli il vento et 
toccati i tasti da' periti sonatori, si sentivano sonare 
molto soavemente." 3 

The workshops of Ballarin, Dalla Pigna, Mocetto, 4 
De Laude, Cattani, and Licini, turned out glass both 

1 Sabellici, De situ urbis Venetae, p. 26. Lugduni, Vander, 1722. 

2 Garzoni, Piazza, p. 54i. 

8 Alberti, Descrittione di tutta Italia, p. 464. Venezia, i553. 

4 The painter Mocetto, a pupil of Giambellino, painted the windows of 
SS. Giovanni e Paolo ; he belonged to a glass-worker's family at Murano ; 
as early as i435 we have notice of a Ser Antonius Mozetus vitriarius de 
contrata S. Stephani de Murano. Paoletti, Race, di doc, fasc. II, p. 20. 
Padova, 1895. 


white, coloured, filigreed or covered with imitation 
lace or with enamels ; and with a fusion of gold enamel 
they imitate gohlets of agate, chalcedony, emerald, 
jacinth, and other precious stones. 1 Indeed the imita- 
tion of gems reached such perfection that the govern- 
ment, anxious for the repute of the Venetian market, 
forbade the manufacture, sale, or use of false stones by 
a law of April, 1/487, reinforced on October 27, i638. 
It was the workshops of Murano that supplied the little 
cubes of coloured glass and the gold enamel which \ in- 
cenzo Sebastiani, the priest Grisogono, the brothers 
Zuccato, Marco Luciano Rizzo, Alberto Zio, "\ incenzo 
and Domenico Bianchini, Bartolomeo Bozza and Marini, 
employed when executing the mosaics of San Marco 
from cartoons of the great masters. Murano, too, 
furnished mirrors in the rough which were sent into 
Venice to be polished by the specchieri, who had two 
scuole, one at the Gesuiti, the other at San Giuliano. 
But the art of mirror-making reached its perfection only 
at the opening of the Ginquecento, 2 and in 1007 the 
brothers Dal Gallo presented a petition to the Council 
of Ten for a monopoly in specchii de vero cristalin, 
cossa preciosa el singular. 

The artistic industries which employ the needle and 
the loom were also characterised by (heir refinement. 
Venetian lace was, of course, renowned in the city 
which was the cradle of the lace-makers' art and which 
gave patterns to all other nations. We cannot, how- 
ever, assign to it an earlier date than the middle of 
the sixteenth century, for it is a common error to con- 
fuse lace, properly so called, with the more ancient 
embroidery. The traditions of embroidery never died 
out, and we have splendid specimens to this day, for 
example in the stoles of the two copes at San 

1 Scoto, Itin. ouero descrit. dciviaggi princip. in Italia. Padova, Bolzetta. 

2 In October, i5o6, the Marchioness Isabella d'Esta Gonzaga ordered 
in Venice specchi di cristallo bellissimo. Bertolotti, op. cit., p. 1009. 


Pantaleone (saec. XV) and at the Frari (saec. XVI), and 
the standard of the Congregation of Priests of San Polo 
(saec. XVI). Bernardo recamador designed the orna- 
mentation on the robes of cloth of gold which Louis XII 
of France gave to the church of San Marco in i486 ; and 
the verses of the humanist Giovanni Aurelio Augurello l 
record a certain Perulla whose needle rivalled the 
brush. Besides embroidery in applique we get em- 
broidery in gold and coloured silks ; at the beginning 
of the fifteenth century this gave way to embroidery 
with thread on canvas, which was then cut out (hence 
the name p unto tagliato), and this again gave rise to the 
punto in aria, which is lace properly so called. 2 The 
galloons which adorn the dresses of some of the fig- 
ures in pictures by Garpaccio and Gentile Bellini are 
embroideries, not lace ; and such must have been the 
Venetian laces of the Queen's golden mantle 3 at the 
Coronation of Henry III of England (i483). Tradition 
tells us that the art of lace-making, the daughter of 
embroidery, received a strong impulse from the Doga- 
ressa Giovanna Malipiero (1^07), though there is no 
documentary evidence to support the statement. It is 
not till we come to another dogaressa, Morosina Moro- 
sini, wife of the Doge Marino Grimani (1595), that we 
hear for certain of direct patronage. The Dogaressa 
erected, at her own charges, in the parish of Santa 
Fosca, a workshop for making merletti el altre curiosita, 
supplying all the instruments required for the industry, 
in which about one hundred and thirty hands were 
employed under the mistra Cattina Gardin. 4 From 
this school came the laces that adorned the robes of the 
great ladies of the various European courts ; and these 

1 Pavanello, Un maestro del quattrocento (G. A. Augurello), p. i4a. 
Venezia, igo5. 

2 Origine ed uso delle trine a filo direfe, op. per nozze Costabili-Caselli. 
Genova, i864- Seguin, La Dentelle, p. 9. Paris, 1875. 

3 Palliser, History of Lace. London, i885. 

4 Urbani de Gheltof, / merletti a Venezia, p. 20. Venezia, 1876. 


laces were frequently given as presents by the generous 
Dogaressa. On her death the school was closed, but 
the industry did not decline ; it continued to flourish, 
especially in the island of Burano. 

It is certain that Venice invented needle-lace, and it 
would seem that it is not in Flanders but in Italy and 
in Venice that we must look for the origin of bobbin- 
lace, which was introduced into Germany in i536 by 
Venetian merchants. In Venice was printed the first 
great collection of lace patterns (i 557-1559) called 
Le Pompe. 1 

But the industry of lace-making must not be con- 
fused with the great industries which flourished in the 
lagoons. It certainly was a vigorous craft, but it never 
evolved statutes and regulations, nor was it ever erected 
into a guild. The women of the people independently 
and in their own houses worked at their patterns ; 
the maidens of the Zitelle on the Giudecca, the nuns 
in their convents, passed the weary hours in pleat- 
ing the thread and tying the knots that went to form 
the graceful fabric Avhich embellished not only robes 
of priests and church linen, but served also to adorn 
more mundane beauty. The graceful art was beloved 
by patrician dames, and Viena Vendramin Nani, wife of 
the procurator of San Marco, to whom Cesare Vecellio 
dedicated his Corona delle nobili el vertuose donne 
(Venezia, i5c)i), was herself famous as a lace-maker and 
also, nel fame esercitare le donne di casa sua, recetto 
delle piu virtuose giovani della cilia. Innumerable 
pattern-books were printed in Venice under all sorts of 
fanciful titles, 2 and professed to teach how to design, 
sew, and embroider with thread, coloured silk, gold and 

1 Melani, Svaghi artistici femminili, p. 9/1. Milan, Hoepli, 1891. 

2 Here for example, is the title which Nicolo d' Aristotele, called 
Zoppino, gave to his book, published in 1529, Esemplario di lavori dove le 
tenere fanciute et altre donne nobile potranno facilmente imparare il modo et 
ordine di lavorarc cusire raccamarc, etc. In 1687 Zoppino published Gli 
universali dei belli Recami antichi e moderni, nei quali un pellegrino ingegno. 


silver qualunque noblle e illusive madonna and even 
qualunque moderato e candido leltore. 

Of needle lace there were various kinds, bearing 
various names. The punto tagliato was succeeded by the 
punlo a reticella, in aria, il burato, il tirato, a Jiorami, 
a groppo, a maglia quadra, and, above all, a rosa or 
roselline, also known as Venice point, which was 
quickly imitated in France. 

Nor was the shuttle inferior to the needle. Towards 
the close of the Middle Ages and onwards, we find 
reminiscences of Oriental patterns blending with de- 
signs from France and Flanders, and coupling the 
Arab curve with the lines and bosses of Gothic. The 
stuffs are covered with heraldic animals, eagles, griffins, 
lions circled by crowns, interspersed with lilies, and 
the crossing of the warp and woof give tone and light. 1 
In the case of cloth of gold, gold thread, or gold leaf, 
or gold chasing, was combined with cut out figure- 
work, and bold borders with lobes, bosses, raised 
foliage, where the stamped velvet served as back- 
ground. These stuffs were remarkable for the blend- 
ing and gradation of their hues ; sometimes offering a 
deep note of colour, sometimes the softest and quietest 

si di huomo come di donna, potva in qaesta nostra eta con Vago virtuosamente 
esercitarsi. In i54o Mathio Pagan in frezzeria published L'honesto esempio 
del virtuoso desiderio che hanno le donne di nobile ingegno circa lo imparare i 
punti tagliati a fiorami. He also printed in i558 La gloria et Vhonore dei 
ponti tagliati et ponti in aere. In 1687 the Venetian Federico Vinciolo 
printed in Paris with Jean le Clerc le jeune, the Singuliers et nouveaux 
portraicts et ouvrages de lingerie, containing patterns for lace. The book- 
seller dedicated the book to Louise de Vaudemont, wife of Henry III. 
Two other curious books dealing with the same subject are Ostans, La vera 
perfetione del disegno di varie sorti di ricami et di cucire ogni sorte di punti 
a fogliami, punti tagliati, punti a frfi et rimessi, punti incrociati, punti a stuora, 
et ogn'otra arte che dice opera a disegni, e di nuovo aggiuntovi varie sorte di 
merli, de arabesque, de grotesque e mostre che al presente sono in uso et in 
pratica, printed at Venice in 1691, by Francesco di Franceschi in 4 to » 
4o pages. — Ciotti Giambattista, Prima parte dei fiori, e disegni di varie 
sorti di ricami moderni come merli, bavari, manichetti et altri nobili lavori. 
Venetia, Francesco di Franceschi, i5oi, 4'°» 16 pages. 

1 See especially the pictures of Carpaccio and Gentile Bellini. 


harmonies. The shuttle copied the brush, and these 
stuffs take rank with the great works of design ; Vene- 
tian silk-weavers obtained in stuff effects which seem to 
belong exclusively to the domain of painting. 1 

In the sixteenth century a contemporary declared 
that the velvets, satins, damasks, taffetas, gold and 
silver cloths of Venice were de mazor allezza et pill 
fini et de mazor durata che se lifaccia in tuito il mondo. 2 
Garzoni exclaims : ■ ■ Chi non vede le meraviglie della 
seta in questa parte," and he proceeds to dwell enthu- 
siastically on the webs ad occhietti, a scacchi, ad aman- 
dole, a punte di diamanti, rigate, a denticelli, a spina, 
the lifelike representations of birds, roses, violets ; the 
imitation Bruges satins, the stuffs of high warp, the 
velvets with their varied figuring, the satins worked in 
gold and silver thread, the damasks con disegni, con 
groppi, con animali, con rossoni di velluto, gold bro- 
cades, cords, fringes, tassels, tapes, buttons, hose, 
laces, silk gloves. 3 So famous were Venetian velvet, 
samite, damask, camlets for surface and wear that the 
silk-mercers of Genoa, with the approval of the Senate, 
decreed that the Venetian manner of weaving should 
be adopted. 4 And Venetian merchants had to face the 
competition of the Florentines and Genoese in England 
and in the fairs of Champagne. By the middle of 
the sixteenth century there was a falling off in the silk 

i We have examples in the velvet copes (saec. XV) at Pieve di Cadore, 
which Titian introduces into his picture of San Tiziano ; the cope at San 
Toma in Venice ; the velvet tunic in the Cathedral at Padua ; the vest- 
ments at San Martino in Venice. See Catalogue of the Mostra di Arte 
Sacra, held during the Congresso Eucaristico of 1897. 

2 Paxi, Bartolomeo, Taripha de pexi e mesure, etc. Venetia, per Alher- 
tin di Lisona, i5o3. 

8 Garzoni, Piazza, p. 909. 

4 Quamvis in camocatis predictis externis (i. e. Venetian) non ponantar 
plus seta quam in nostris . . . accidit quod quarto Jili sete qui in camocatis 
ponantur magis stringuntur tanto opus videtur speciosus. Arch, di Stato, 
Genova, Capitoli dell' arte della seta. In France they made an imitation 
Venetian silk, in the seventeenth century, known as Vinitienne. Havard, 
Diet, de Vameublement. 


trade, and yet it yielded five hundred thousand sequins 
annually. 1 

Venice also took a leading part in the wool-trade. 
The hy-laws of the guild are preserved in the Museo 
Givico ; the manuscript contains miniatures which show 
us the artisans at work in long gowns with close 
sleeves and a cap and hood. 2 The craft had many 
scuole, but its chief centre was at San Simeone Grande, 
where the Camera del Par go sat. This was an office 
composed of wool-merchants who tried questions which 
might arise between the various manufacturers and 
supervised the quality of work. 3 Venetian webs were 
de mazor darata et de mazor altezza et mazor braccia de 
brazza* than any other in Italy; and Marino Gavalli, 
Venetian ambassador at the Court of France in i546, 
was able to say, when speaking of the Genoese, Tuscan, 
and Lombard wool-trade that '* II loro lavoro e tutto 
sul gusto dei franzesi, ciok fanno stoffe, che hanno poco 
prezzo e minor durata. E proprio cio che conviene ai 
franzesi che si annoierebbero a portare lo stesso abito 
troppo tempo." Garzoni says: "I panni sono col 
diritto, col rovescio, a pelo, col contropelo, a filo, e 
sono gallonati, tondi, fini, bassi, alti," etc. 5 Even 
more in demand were Venetian felts, flannels, kerseys, 
serges, tweeds, camelots, friezes, etc. This industry, 
down to the middle of the sixteenth century, turned 
out twenty-eight thousand pieces a year and gave em- 
ployment to twenty thousand hands. 

The silk and wool industries lent a great impulse 
to the dyer's trade. The Venetians always loved bright 
colours. Venetian scarlet and crimson, and indeed 

i Filiasi, Mem., T. VI. Down to the fall of the Republic the scuola 
of the silk-mercers was at the Misericordia. 

2 Museo Civico, Mariegole, n. 129. 

8 The Camera del Purgo took its name from the place where the webs 
were cleaned. In the middle of the sixteenth century it was removed to 
the fondamenta della Groce, and remained there till the fall of the Republic. 

* Paxi, op. cit. 

6 Garzoni, Piazza, p. 766. 


most hues, were world famous. In i53a the Queen 
of France ordered three hundred pieces of dyed satin 
for her robes, while the English sent their webs to 
Venice and to Florence to be dyed. A curious and ex- 
tremely rare book, the Plicio of Giovanventura Rossetti, 
an officer in the arsenal, is probably the earliest treatise 
on dyeing. 1 The author is almost unknown, and his 
book is a modest one. It appeared for the first time 
in i54o, printed by Rampazzetto ; a second edition 
revised appeared in i565, and it was reprinted and also 
translated. But the unpretentious pages of this little 
book are ablaze with light and colour. The Plicto 
teaches "a tenger panni, tele, bambasi et sede, si per 
l'arte maggiore che per la comune, e a conzar corami, a 
camozzarli e tengcrli di colore in colore." The marvel- 
lous hues of the robes worn by great ladies at public 
festivals and by the magistrates at all civic functions, 
tints which inspired the Venetian painters, were pa- 
tiently prepared in the humble workshops of the dyers. 
Venetian red, which time has failed to fade in the stuffs 
still preserved to us, was obtained by the following re- 
ceipt : " Vergino tagliato minuto, onze una e meza ; 
argeto sulimato dragme doi ; lume de rocca dragme 
quatro ; aceto onze sei ; e metti tutte queste cose in 
una ampolla de vedro, e fa che sia be coper ta : e 
mettila in una stagnadela d'acqua a boglir per spacio 
di un quarto di hora, e poi colalo per feltro, e questa 
acqua sara rosso mirabilissimo." 2 

Rossetti's book reveals many of those craft secrets 
which were so carefully guarded ; recourse was even 
had to superstition in order to terrify the people ; for 
instance, the tale was spread that a white ghost haunted 
the dyers' shops, or a man in a huge hat, or a giant 
with a lantern in his hand. The terror inspired by 
these silly stories explains the popular use of the word 

1 Guareschi, St. della chimica, IV, 4^3. Torino, 1904. 
8 Plicto, p. 56. 


scarlatto to mean a groundless panic. 1 The craft of 
the dyers came under the supervision of the Gonsoli 
dei Mercanti, and by Venetian law the right to dye in 
grana or in vermiglio, dalla qual tentura ha preso il 
principato la Pannina veneziana in tutto il mondo," was 
strictly confined to Venetian workmen. The seasons 
in which the scarlet dye should be prepared were also 
indicated, and every precaution was taken to prevent 
the fraudulent use of tenture d Archimia and to secure 
perfection of hue. 2 The craftsmen were divided into 
three classes, the dyers of silk, fustian, and cloth ; and 
as far back as i38o had formed themselves into a guild 
in the church of San Giovanni Crisostomo, Avhere they 
had their altar and tomb, under the protection of Sant' 
Onofrio. In i58i they secured a meeting-place near 
the Ponte dei Servi, where they put up an altar with 
a picture of their patron saint by Tintoret, who thus 
acknoAvledged the little dyer's shop belonging to his 
father whence he took his nickname and where, maybe, 
in his boyhood he acquired his passion for vivid colour. 
The dyers' shops were scattered all over the town, and 
the large spaces — called Chiovere, from chiovi, the pins 
used to hang up the webs — were destined as drying 
grounds for the cloth after it had been dipped, just as 
those perforated stones which are still to be seen on the 
facades of many of the houses in Venice were used for 
carrying poles from which the webs could be suspended 
in the sun. 

Some stuffs were actually coloured by hand, but of 
these we have no specimens, and we only learn the fact 
from documents which speak of hand painting in trans- 
parent colours upon gilded silk, — an industry confined 
for the most part to Florentine settlers, who produced 
curtains, hangings, bedquilts, banners, and such like. 

1 Sagredo, St. civ. e polit. di Venezia (in Venezia e le sue lagune). 

2 Legge del 20 Aprile, 1549. Published for the Nozze Gini-De Mori. 
Venezia, 1881. 

VOL. I. — IO 


Both painter and weaver were associated in the art 
of tapestry-making, which was introduced into Venice 
by the Flemish in 1^22, and carried on during the 
sixteenth century, chiefly by foreigners. 1 Although 
tapestry was in great request, it cannot be said that the 
industry, of which we find no traces, either in by-laws 
or in guild, was really flourishing at Venice during the 
Renaissance, though we do hear now and then of an 
arras factory in the city. 2 It is certain that some of the 
great Venetian artists made cartoons for tapestry ; and 
the famous arras work designed for the halls of the 
Imperial Palace at Brussels, when Charles V. returned 
to that city to open the States General in i53i, is 
said to be from drawings by Titian and Tintoret. But, 
as a matter of fact, these tapestries, which are now in 
the Museum at Naples, were woven by Flemish women 
from cartoons by the Flemish painter, Van Orley. The 
tapestries once in the church of the Angeli at Murano 
and now in the Museum there, are also Flemish ; they 
represent scenes from the life of Christ, and have the 
arms of the Grimani, Tiepolo, Giustinian, and Barbaro 
families. Flemish, too, are the tapestries given to San 
Marco by the Doge Gritti in i533 ; and the basilica 
acquired, in i55i, other hangings woven at Florence 
by John Rost, from designs by Sansovino. The tap- 
estries which Bianca Cappello gave to one of the 
Tiepolo family were also made in Florence ; but the 
twenty-five magnificent arrases in the Palazzo Marti- 
nengo, eleven of which represent the triumph of Scipio, 
eight the battles of Caesar, and six country sports, came 
from the looms of Brabant. They belonged originally 
to the family of Zen at San Stin, then to the Michiel, at 

1 The first manufactory of high warp tapestry, called arras, was opened 
at Mantua in i^it), the second at Venice in lfoi, by John of Bruges and 
Valentine of Arras. Urbani de Gheltof, Degli arazzi in Venezia. Venezia, 

2 In 1597 Alfonso of Ferrara ordered the tapestries for his palace from 
a Venetian maker. Campori, Arazzeria Estcnse, p. 87. Modena, 1876. 


the SS. Apostoli, and passed to the Palazzo Martinengo, 
now Dona delle Rose. 

The industry of stamped leather-making, on the 
contrary, was always a flourishing one in Venice ; 
Cordova, Venice, and later on Ferrara 1 were the chief 
centres of production. In the seventeenth century 
trade in stamped leather yielded about one hundred 
thousand ducats a year to the State ; there were up- 
wards of seventy shops employed in the business, and 
the artisans formed a branch of the guild of painters. 
The prepared skins, chiefly sheep or goat skins, were 
stamped and ornamented with figures, arabesques, 
flowers, foliage, arms, and cognisances, worked with 
hot irons in low relief. Stamped leather was used 
not merely for decorating rooms but also to cover 
chests and coffers, and was fashioned into casques, 
bucklers, quivers, with the lion of San Marco stamped 
on them, surrounded by graceful designs ; veritable 
works of art and yet in use by common soldiers, so 
universal was the taste for beauty. 2 

At this period the triumphs of industry are, in fact, 
triumphs of art ; industry becomes artistic without ever 
losing its characteristic note. The artisan is the com- 
panion of the artist in the production of works of art, 
even if he does not share in the glory, and the artist, 
after training the artisan, received in turn most invalu- 
able assistance. Everywhere the eye was trained by the 
sight of beautiful objects, bronzes, goldsmiths' work, 
glass, carving, intarsia, lace, stuffs. If we look more 
especially at the splendid fabrics still preserved in the 
churches of Venice, — the silks sewn with thread of 

i Camporl, Sulla manifattura degli arazzi in Ferrara, speaks of the 
stamped leather of Venice. In the Atti dei Procuratori di San Marco we 
find the following names : i484 Angelus magister coreorum aureatorum — 
i4o,6 Marco dei cuori d'oro — i54o Matio de li cuori — i56o Isaac dai 
cuori d'oro — i5o,o Andrea Giacomo e Francesco cuori d'ori — 1697 
Donna Ortensia fa cuori d'oro. 

2 Molinier, op. cit., p. 287. 


gold, cloth of silver bossed with gems, white satins 
with gold embroidery, red velvet with figures in silk 
and gold, silver brocade worked in gold and silk flow- 
ers, — we find the secret of the charm exercised by the 
gorgeous Venetian school of painting. The continual 
contemplation of these stuffs with their colours, now 
vivid, now delicate, which blend and fuse in harmo- 
nious accord, taught Venetian artists how to combine 
in one triumphant symphony the most varied and vivid 
hues. And even now, after such changes of fortune, 
the taste for colour is still alive in the people of Venice, 
and especially in women's dress they are able to unite 
in delicate unison tints of the most opposite values. 


THE private lives of many of those great artists who 
adorned Venice by their chisel or their brush are 
known but imperfectly and inexactly. Vasari's 
" Lives" are an authority not to be trusted, especially 
in the case of artists born outside Tuscany ; Carlo 
Ridolfi, in Le maraviglle delV arte, is sound as long 
as he is speaking of contemporaries, but not equally so 
when dealing with the earlier masters. Baldinucci, 
Zanetti, Lanzi, Rosini, Gualandi, Bernasconi, and other 
critics, already out of date, add but little to our knowl- 
edge. We get new and more reliable information 
about the careers of Venetian artists from the work of 
modern students who by diligent research have brought 
to light many documents hitherto unknown. Never- 
theless masses of ancient documents still await discovery 
and illustration in order to throw light on the story of 
men whose ability and genius are fully recognised, but 
whose family history still remains obscure. 

The domestic life of almost all the Venetian artists 
of the early Renaissance is completely unknown to us 
and it is with a certain intimate pleasure, as of some 
personal touch, that we read even the bare name painted 
in the corner of a picture or traced by the pen on some 
stained and time-worn deed. 

Of the two Vivarini, Bartolomeo (b. i43o, d. 1^99) 
and Alvise (b. i444, d. i5o2), we know next to noth- 
ing. The birthdays of the two Bellinis are in doubt. 


Some maintain that Gentile the elder, called after 
Gentile da Fabriano, his father's master, was born about 
1A26 ; others place his birth some years later. The 
birth of Giovanni has always been attributed to the 
year 1428. 1 These two brothers, though they lived in- 
dependently, had the highest regard for each other, and 
each proclaimed the other as his superior. 2 Both were 
commissioned to decorate the Ducal Palace, and in 
1^7^ both obtained from the Republic, in premio dellc 
so fadighe, 3 a broker's post in the public Exchange 
— an office which brought in a large income and 
implied freedom from taxation, a revenue of one 
hundred and twenty ducats a year, and a commission to 
paint the Doge's portrait for twenty-five ducats. The 
studios of the two Bellinis were so famous in their day 
that requests for admission as pupils flowed in from 
all quarters. We have an example in a letter from 
Elizabetta Morosini, wife of one of the Frangipane, 
Lords of Veglia, who, writing on May 11, 1/171, to her 
brother Marco in Venice, says: " pregemo caramente 
vui messer Marco chel ve piaqua per la amicitia qual 
intendemo che havedi con zentil over zuane bclin 
depentori astrenzerli per tal modo che i vogliano in- 
segnar la rasom del desegno a pre domencgo nostro." 4 

1 Cantalamessa, Uarte di Jacopo Bellini. Venczia, 1896. The author 
maintains that Gentile cannot have been horn in 1^26, because his mother, 
Anna, made her will in Venice when in danger of her life owing to her 
first childbed ; therefore Giovanni, the second son, cannot hare been born 
before i43o. Professor Laudedeo Testi is not, however, of opinion that 
Anna's will proves the birth of both Gentile and Giovanni to have taken 
place after 1/129. The statement of Cantalamessa and others arises from 
a mistaken interpretation of the will, for they go on the supposition that 
the will is speaking of a first childbed ; but this does not appear to be the 
case in the passage residuum omnium bonorum mcorum dimitlo filio meo vel 
fdie . . . hac presenti mea gravidatione, for here the testatrix speaks of the 
residue of her property, the remainder of which may have already been 
divided among elder children; and this interpretation is confirmed by 
the phrase hac presenti mea gravidatione, as distinguished from previous 

2 Ridolfi, Le maraviglie dell" arte, Vol. I, p. 8£. 
8 Malipiero, Annali, P. II, p. 603. 

* Nuova Arch. Yen., T. II, p. 38a. 


Giovanni Bellini lived at Santa Marina, 1 Gentile at 
San Geminiano. Gentile left Venice for Constantinople 
when an orator Judeo del Signor Turco came to beg a 
good painter and a bronze- founder from the signory. 
Bellini was sent con le galie di Romania, e la Signoria li 
pagb le spese e park ad\ 3 settembre 1U19? With him 
went two bronze-founders from the shop of a certain 
Bartolomeo. 3 Gentile was cordially welcomed by Ma- 
homet II and painted several portraits of the Sultan. 4 
He also adorned the royal apartments Avith scenes of 
gallantry in which the Sultan, the Koran notwith- 
standing, took delight, for he was a learned and in- 
telligent prince who passed his days between war, the 
cares of government, study, and the pleasures of the 
harem. Gentile spent fifteen months in Constantinople, 
painting portraits, and making studies and drawings, 
from among which, however, we must exclude the 
sketches of Theodosian's Column, now in Paris, as 
they in all probability belong to the sixteenth century. 
Before leaving in the later days of 1/480, the painter 
was overwhelmed with honours by the Sultan, who 
created him a Chevalier and placed round his neck a 
chain, " lavorata," says Vasari, " alia turchesca, di peso 
di scudi dugento cinquanta d'oro : la qual ancora si 
trova appresso agli eredi suoi in Vinezia." This state- 
ment invalidates the story told by Ridolfi and others, 
that Gentile left Constantinople in a hurry after wit- 
nessing an atrocious spectacle of which he was the 
innocent cause. 5 They say that, Gentile having painted 

1 Mariegola della Scuola Grande di S. Marco, under the year i484, Zuane 
Bellin fo de S. Jacomo depentor S. Marina. See Tassini, Curiosita Veneziane, 
p. 44a. 

2 Sanudo, Spoglio di cron. Ven., quoted by Morelli in his Notizia delV 
Anonimo, ed. Frizzoni, p. 9. 

3 Arch, di Stato, Senato, Terra, Reg. III. Collegio, Notatorio, Reg. XX. 
Quoted by Urbani de Gheltof, Les Arts Industriels, etc., p. 66. 

* One of these is now in the Layard Collection at Venice. The pic- 
tures were all sold on Mahomet's death. 

5 Thusane, Gentile Bellini et Saltan Mohammed IT. Paris, 1888. Thu- 
sane gives some important information about Bellini, taken from the 


a head of John the Baptist, Mahomet did not consider 
it lifelike, and in order to show the painter how the 
neck shrank when cut by the sword he caused a slave 
to he decapitated before them, and pointed out the effect 
to the artist, who, horror-struck at the sight, hastily 
took leave of his terrible patron. On his return to 
Venice Gentile finished various pictures and also the 
bronze medal of Mahomet. That he was surrounded 
by the respect of his fellow citizens and honoured by 
the government, who gave him a pension of two hun- 
dred ducats a year, there is no doubt. But it is inter- 
esting to note that he did not escape the tongue of the 
malignant. A poet of wit, but despicable in mind and 
manners, Andrea Michieli, called Squarz6la or Straz- 
zola, in his sonnets steeped in venom, does not spare 

lo arrogante 
Cavalier spiron d'or Gentil Bellino ; 

and savagely attacks his painting while lauding la sub- 
lime ed eccellente mano of his brother Giovanni. 1 

Gentile had two wives : the first Gaterina Baresani, 
who made her will on October 18, ihgb, and died soon 
after ; the second, whom the painter married when he 
was well on in years, was called Maria , filia quondam 
domini Antonii Trivisani dido Gaban, as we gather from 
her will dated October 20, i5o3. Gentile mentions 
his brother (fratrem meum carissimum), and Maria Gaban 
(consortem meam dileclissimam) in his last will, which he 
dictated to the notary Bernardo Gavanis on February 
18, 1507. The master, corpore languens, after devising 
a sum for the good of his soul, bequeaths various pic- 
tures to churches and Scuole, all his sketches made in 

MS. of Angiolello, of Vicenza, now in the Bibliothrque Rationale at Paris. 
It is entitled Historia Turchcsca di Giovan Maria Awjiolcllo Schiavo el attri 
schiaci, dall' anno 7429 fin al 1513. Angiolello Mas in the service of 
Mustafa, eldest son of Mahomet II. 

1 Rossi, 7/ canzoniere incdito di A. Michieli, detto Strazzola, pp. 47. 48. 
Torino, 1895. 


Rome to his two apprentices, Ventura and Geronimo ; 1 
the famous book of drawings by his father Jacopo to 
his brother Giovanni on condition that he should finish 
Gentile's incompleted pictures in the Scuola di San 
Marco. 2 Gentile died on February 23, 1607, and was 
buried in the cimiterio Sanctorum Joannis el Pauli, near 
the Scuola di Sant' Orsola, in the tomb of the Di 
Giorgi family. Giovanni at once fulfilled his brother's 
wish, and on March 7, 1607, he came to terms with the 
Scuola di San Marco to finish con la medema condicion 
e pati, el teller principiado non compido, which is now 
in the Brera and represents Saint Mark preaching in 
Alexandria, — a work of the highest importance, as it 
contains portraits of the brother artists ; Gentile is in a 
yellow, and Giovanni in a red robe. We also have the 
likenesses of the two brothers in two medals by Vittore 
Camelio. 3 The so-called portrait of Giovanni Bellini 
by himself in the Uffizi does not appear to be authentic, 
nor yet the portraits of the brothers in the Louvre, once 
attributed to Giovanni and now restored to Gentile ; 
the portrait of Giovanni by himself in the Gallery of the 
Capitol at Rome commands greater respect. 

Giovanni Bellini has left us this warm profession of 
faith, written by his own hand on the throne of the 
Madonna in the sacristy of the Frari : Janua certi poll, 
due mentem, dirige vitam, quae peragam comissa tuae sint 
omnia curae. If, as we must believe, the words are 
sincere, we see that the deep religious sentiment which 
inspires his art was, in truth, the guide of his whole 

1 Ludwig, Artisti bergamaschi in Venezia (Suppl. to Vol. XXIV of the 
Jahrbuch der Ktiniglich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, Berlin, 1903), holds 
that this Geronimo is the painter Girolamo da Santacroce of Bergamo, who 
married in i5i5 apd lived in Venice at Sant' Antonino in the Gasa dei 
Preti, sottoportico dei Preti, behind the church of San Giovanni in Bra- 
gora, till his death on July 9, i566. 

2 For Gentile's will and other documents relating to the pictures in the 
Scuola di San Marco, see Molmenti, Studi e ricerche di st. e d'ai'te, pp. 126 
et seq. Torino, 1892. 

8 The original design for this medal is in the collection of the Due 


life. But religious sentiment was not his sole inspira- 
tion, for Giovanni also painted the mundane beauty of 
Venice, as we learn from a sonnet by Pietro Bembo, 
who, before the portrait of his mistress, exclaims in 
terms of gratitude : 

Credo che '1 mio Bellin con la figura 
Ti abbia dato il costume anco di lei. 

Nor did the great painter refuse to represent the 
triumphs of his native city, especially in the Halls of 
the Ducal Palace. Under the influence of Zorzi da 
Castelfranco and of Titian, he allowed himself to bo 
seduced by the new and sensuous movement in art, and 
in the last years of his life produced the ' ' Banquet 
of the Gods," a work full of mythological deities 
and drunken bacchantes, and the licentious " Baccha- 
nal," two pictures which Bellini did not finish and 
to which Titian gave the last touches. But the gentle 
painter of Madonnas really preferred his dreamy reli- 
gious visions to such scenes of carnal voluptuousness, 
and this may perhaps explain why he never even began 
una historia o fabula antiqua, which the Marchioness Isa- 
bella d'Este Gonzaga commissioned him to paint for her 
famous studio which she was decorating with pictures 
by Mantegna, Perugino, Lorenzo Costa, and Correggio. 
The commission was conveyed in i5oi, through 
Michele Vianello, a great connoisseur and collector, 
who gave Bellini per ara et parte twenty-five gold 
crowns. But the artist, though professing himself 
dexideroso de servir the Marchioness, could never bring 
himself to begin, because, as he himself said, he was 
disturbed by the thought that his work would be 
matched with that of Mantegna, such was the esteem 
in which he held his brother-in-law. But the true 
reason for the delay which irritated Isabella into writing 
that she would not any longer sopportare tanta villania 
quanto ha usaia cum nui Zo : Bellino, must be sought 


in the temperament of the painter himself, who set to 
work on a profane subject from antiquity tanto male 
volentieri quanto dir si posi. As a matter of fact, 
Lorenzo da Pavia, a skilful carver, and Vianello were 
charged by the Marchioness to give Bellini no peace 
till he had finished the work ; Lorenzo writes thus to 
the Marchioness in August of i5o2 : " Cerca al quadro 
che doveva fare Giovane Bellino, non mai a fato niente, 
non e mancato perche M. Michele et io non l'abiamo 
solicitato, ma io sempre pensai che non lo farebe . . . 
lui non e omo per fare istorie, e ne da parola de fare, 
ma non fa niente, e acio che lui avesse causa de farlo, 
io ho uno mio amico poeta, valente uomo, e cosi lo 
pregai me trovase qualche istoria che fose assai facile 
per fare sudito quadro . . . ma me pare ne volia far 
niente." Pietro Bembo, who may possibly have been 
the amico poeta, on the contrary, writes to the Mar- 
chioness from Venice to say that Bellini is disposed to 
do the picture and adds: "La invenzione, che mi 
scrive V. S. che io truovi al disegno, bisognera che 
laccomodi alia fantasia di lui chel ha a fare, il quale 
ha piacere che molto signati termini non si diano al suo 
stile." 1 But the Marchioness had to give up the idea 
of a classical subject and to content herself with a 
Presepio con la Madonna, el nostro S re Dio, S. hep, 
uno S. Joanne Baptista et le bestie. The artist made 
his patroness wait a considerable time even for the 
Presepio ; but on July 2, i5o/j, he wrote to announce 
that the picture was finished, and flexis genibus to im- 
plore pardon for the long delay, which was to be 
ascribed to his inumerabel occupation e non ad oblivion ; 
"pregando," he goes on, "el signor nostro Dio, che 
se in longezza de tempo non ho cusi satisfacto alia 
prefata S. V. como era de mente de quella ; saltim in 
essa opera rimanga contenta ; la quale perb se non cusi 

1 Gaye, Carteggio inedit. d'art., II, 71, 76. Firenze, 


satisfacesse ala immensa sapientia, e praticha le l'ariten- 
deran la S. V. lo attribuischa alia tenuita del debel saper 
mio ; ala quale humiliter mi ricomando et ofTerischo." 
The noble lady replied that she had pardoned all short- 
comings, and added : fi s'el quadro de la pictura chc 
aveti facto corresponde alia fama vostra, come speramo, 
restarimo satisfate di vui." 1 

Bellini's last work, the " Evangelist Saint Mark," be- 
gun in i5i5 for the Scuola of that saint, remained half 
finished at his death, which took place on November 
29, i5i6. His body was laid beside Gentile's in the 
tomb at SS. Giovanni e Paolo, where two other 
brothers, Gabriele and Giorgio, also repose. 

Marco Basaiti, a painter who bears a close resem- 
blance to Giambellino both in genius and in style, 
flourished in Venice from 1^90 to i5ai. We do not 
know whether he was born in Venice or in Friuli ; 
his family probably came from Dalmatia or Albania. 

Venice — not Capodistria as is usually staled 2 — 
was the birthplace of Vettor Carpaccio. He saw the light 
probably about the year i£55 ; his family belonged to 
Mazzorbo, and in the fourteenth century settled in 
Venice in the parish of San Raflaele ; they were fisher- 
men and boat-builders, like their ancestors at Mazzorbo. 
We may point out that the parish of San Raflaele 
adjoins the parish of San Niccold, which was the home 
of the Bellinis' ancestors and of that popular faction 
called the Nicolotti, all fisher folk descended from that 
old and hardy breed of Adriatic fishermen from whom 
Venice drew her early strength, and from whose loins 
later on came the men who first conferred upon their 
country the glories of art. We know the date neither 

1 The correspondence between Isabella and Vianello, Lorenzo da Pavia 
and Giambellino, was published by Braghirolli in the Archivio Veneto, 
T. Ill, pp. 370 et seq. 

2 Ridolfi, Zanetti, Lanzi, Sasso, however, gave Venice as Carpaccio's 
birthplace. Fresh documents confirm their view. See Ludwig and 
Molmenti, Vittore Carpaccio. Milano, 1906. 


of the birth nor of the death of Garpaccio ; but in i5a6 
his son Pietro, also a painter, calls himself, in a deed, 
son of the late Vettore. In 1627 we have a deed 
executed by Laura, relict of the painter Vettore, in 
which reference is made to another deed of i525, at 
which time Laura was not a widow ; it seems, then, that 
we may conclude that the great artist was dead by 
i526. It was not he, but his second son, Benedetto, 
who settled in Istria ; and the earliest date recorded in 
the life of Benedetto is the year i537, inserted on a 
picture of the •' Coronation of the Virgin," now in the 
Town Hall of Gapodistria. 

Of Garpaccio' s life as a painter we have few details. 
When the master was engaged in painting in the Hall 
of the Great Council in the Ducal Palace, he received 
a visit from Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, 
who, like his wife Isabella d'Este, was an intelligent 
patron and collector. We hear of this visit from Car- 
paccio himself in a letter addressed to the Marquis on 
August 18, I5H. 1 Carpaccio tells the Marquis that 
one day he had a visit at his shop from an unknown 
individual who wished to buy a picture of Jerusalem. 
The price was settled, and the unknown disappeared ; 
Carpaccio made inquiries and found out that his 
visitor was Maislro Laurenlio, Lorenzo Leonbruno, 
painter to the Marquis of Mantua. And so Carpaccio 
writes straight to the Marquis to say that his name 
e die to Victor Car patio, and that the age could not pro- 
duce a work to compare with his si de bonta et Integra 
perfectione come anche de grandeza. This naive expres- 
sion shows us the artist's mind, conscious of his value 
and disdaining the affectation of modesty which is fre- 
quently hypocritical, or the pride which often passes 
into vanity. 

We have proof of the admiration with which 

1 In the Archivio Gonzaga at Mantua first published by us in Carpaccio 
e Tiepolo, p. 69. Torino, i885. 


Carpaccio was surrounded, in the verses of poets, more 
especially of one little known Tuscan poetess of the 
fifteenth century, Girolama Gorsi Ramos, whose portrait 
Carpaccio painted in a picture now lost. 1 But this 
admiration was sometimes mingled with spite, and 
Carpaccio, like Gentile Bellini, was made the mark for 
the vulgar abuse of Strazzola. Strazz6la, though a des- 
picable character, had managed to secure the protec- 
tion of a patrician, Alvise Contarini, whom he probably 
amused with his jests and raillery. Anyhow Contarini 
commissioned Carpaccio to paint the impudent satirist. 
Strazzola, highly flattered at this, published verses in 
which he offered advice to the painter : 

Or poni adunque diligenza e cura 
nel dipingermi in catedra sedente 
a guisa de chi a Padua ha una lettura, 
e che le tempie mie sian de virente 

fronde peneia cinte . . . 

But Carpaccio, perhaps in agreement with Contarini, 
determined to play a joke on the malicious poet, and 
painted him seated in a chair with a wreath not of 
laurel but of vine leaves, more in keeping with the 
character of his sitter. Strazzola took great offence 
and complained to Contarini, while he attacked Car- 
paccio in a lampoon in which he heaps insults on 
the painter and the picture, which is now lost. 2 
But Carpaccio found compensation for the virulence 
of Strazzola in the anonymous writer of a roundel 
beginning thus : 

Victor mio charo, di tal nome dejrno 
che dato ti ha virtute : et la Datura 
judicio ver del tuo sublime ingegno. . . .* 

1 Rossi, V., Di una rimatrice del sec. XV. — Girolama Corsi Ramos e 
Jacopo Corsi (in the Giornale Stor. della Lett. It., Vol. XV, p. i83. 
Torino, 1890). 

2 Canz. ined. dello Strazzola. 

8 Colasanti, Due slrambotti inediti per Antonio Vinciguerra e un ignoU 
ritratto di Yetlor Carpaccio (in Repertorium fur Kunstwissenschaft, by 
Thode and Tschudi, Band XXVI, p. 198. Berlin, Reimer, 1903). 


At Conegliano, a smiling village of the Marca Tre- 
vigiana, well watered and surrounded by vine-clad hills, 
they still point out the modest dwelling where Giam- 
battista da Conegliano was born, about i46o. His 
forebears had followed the calling of cimaiori di lana, 
or wool-shearers, and Giambattista is called in the 
documents q. Petri cimatoris. Giambattista did not 
follow the manual calling of his family, but by his 
ability he ennobled it, and they chose to take their sur- 
name from it and called themselves de Cima or de Cyma 
or simply Cima. 1 Giambattista had a brother called 
Antonio, and a sister who married a bootmaker of 
Conegliano called Vendramini. It seems that at the 
age of twenty-eight Cima went to Vicenza to paint a 
picture in the church of San Bartolomeo, and thence 
he moved to Venice with his whole family. By his 
first marriage he had two sons, Pietro and Riccardo, 
who became a monk taking the name of Niccolb. His 
wife, Corona, died, and Cima took a second bride, who 
gave him three sons, Sebastiano, Riccardo, and Luca, 
and three daughters, Pellegrina, Corona, and Petronilla. 
After some years spent in Venice he and his family re- 
turned, in i5i6, to his native hills ; but he did not long 
enjoy the quiet of country life, for we gather from the 
valuation rolls of Conegliano that the gentle artist was 
no longer alive in i5i8. 2 

It would almost seem that these artists of the Quattro- 
cento, whose modest dignity is so strikingly displayed 
in their work, had resolved to leave to posterity the 
record of their lives veiled in a mild mystery. It is 
only later that artists begin to reveal their habit of life 
and the secrets of their soul with ampler details, though 

1 The painter signs his canvases Ioanes Baptista Coneglianensis opus, and 
never Cima. The signature of the picture No. 66 of the Lochis Gallery, at 
Bergamo, is a forgery; it runs Datt. Cima Conelianensis, MDXV. See 
Morelli, Delia Pitturalt., p. 383. Milano, 1897. 

2 Aliprandi and Botteon, Ricerche intovno alia vita e alle opere di 
Giambattista Cima, p. 38. Conegliano, i8g3. 


even in the Cinquecento the information is not always 
accurate. Thus it happens that the caprice of biogra- 
phers has gathered round the life of Zorzi da Castel- 
franco a mass of anecdote and episode entirely lacking 
foundation in truth. 1 There seems to be no doubt 
that he was born in i477» hut not all are agreed that 
Gastelfranco was his birthplace. Some maintain that he 
was born at Vedelago, a village not far from Castel- 
franco, and that he belonged to a prosperous family 
recorded in a document of i46o which mentions 
" Johannes dictus Zorzonus de Vitellaco cive et habita- 
tore Castri Franchi." 2 This Zorzonus, who was living 
some twenty years before the painter, was in all proba- 
bility his father. It is a pure invention of Vasari that 
Giorgione was so called from a certain grandeur of 
mind and body bestowed on him by nature ; so too the 
story that he was the offspring of illicit love between 
one of the Barbarella family and a woman of the 
people falls to the ground. Documents and writers of 
the sixteenth century call the painter Zorzon, which 
was perhaps the surname, Zorzi or Giorgione da Castel- 
franco, and never Barbarella, a name that appears for 
the first time in 16/17 in Ridolfi's Maraviglie. 5 Nor did 
he ever live in the Barbarella house at Gastelfranco, 

1 Among modern biographies Paul Laudau's Giorgione (Berlin, Bard) 
hardly deserves notice, he is so fanciful ; not much better is Cook's life 
(London, Bell, ioo4). Angelo Conti (Firenze, Alinari, i8g4) and Mon- 
neret de Villard (Bergamo, Arti Grafiche, 1904) arc pleasant reading, but 
give few new facts. 

2 The document is quoted in Nadal Melchiori's Cronaca, a manuscript 
in the Municipio of Castelfranco. See Gronau, Zorzon da Castelfranco 
(Nuovo Arch. Veneto, T. VII, Part II, p. 447). We believe, however, that 
Giorgione was born at Castelfranco. Morelli's Anonimo, who is well in- 
formed on Venetian matters and wrote his notes between i5ia and 1 543 
and was therefore a contemporary of the painter, mentions him frequently 
as Zorzi, sometimes adding di Castelfranco. Francesco Sansovino, 
(Venetia), speaking of the church of San Giovanni Grisostomo, says "et 
nobilitato poi da Giorgione da Castelfranco famosissimo pittore il quale 
comincib la palla grande con le tre virtu teologiche et fu poi finita da 
Sebastiano che fu frate del piombo in Roma." 

8 Gronau, loc. cit. 


though it is true he was buried in their tomb in the 
church of San Liberale in that town. 1 This has given 
rise to the supposition that Giorgione belonged to the 
Barbarella family ; but we have other cases in which a 
family would grant a last resting-place to its distant 
connections or even to mere friends ; thus the Bellini 
were buried in the tomb of the Di Giorgi near the 
oratory of Saint Ursula. 

Zorzon, or Zorzi, was taken, when quite a boy, to the 
studio of Giambellino, where he found a fellow pupil in 
Titian. Zorzi rose rapidly in reputation and in fortune, 
and settled in a house in the Gampo San Silvestro. 
Ridolfi says he frescoed the front of his house, and that 
its chambers often resounded to the noise of revelry 
and of concerts, in which Zorzi, an excellent master of 
the lute, used to take part. Vasari tells us that nel 
molto conversare che ei faceva per trattenere con la 
musica molti suoi amici, he fell in love with a woman 
affected with syphilis which she communicated to the 
artist in so violent a form that he succumbed. As a 
matter of fact he died of the plague in i5io, 2 and this 
must be the source of Vasari' s error. But to counter- 
balance the inventions of the historian of Arezzo, which 
blacken the memory of the great though mysterious 
artist, we get a poetical legend which has given rise 
to many poems and romances, and to a play by 
Pietro Gossa, which draws its argument from certain 
obscure words said to have been scribbled by Giorgione 
on the back of his magnificent picture of the Madonna 
at Castelfranco and which were rubbed out by a 

1 In the old church of San Liberale, between the altars of San Giovanni 
Battista and San Marco, there used to be a tablet, which was lost in the 
restoration of the church. It bore the following inscription : ob perpet- 


2 Gronau, loc. cit. 


restorer in i83i. The inscription, whose diction and 
handwriting do not appear to have been contemporary, 
runs thus: 



Around this Cecilia a whole fantastic love story has 
grown up. They say that the painter loved, with all 
the passion of mind and body, the beautiful Cecilia, 
who was seduced and stolen from him by a pupil and 
friend, Pietro Luzzo called Zarato, more commonly 
known under the name of Morto da Feltre on account 
of his extreme pallor ; and that Giorgione was so over- 
come with grief that he died while still on the very 
threshold of fame. In the UfFizi at Florence there is 
the portrait of a lean man with a skull by his side, 
which has been called Morto da Feltre. But the paint- 
ing is claimed by some as belonging to the Florentine 
school, by others it is ascribed to Torbido of Verona. 
There is no indication that the picture represents Morto 
da Feltre, who, according to Vasari, after having painted 
in Florence and Rome and acquiring great repute espe- 
cially in grotesques, came to Venice, where he worked 
with Giorgione on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and pass- 
ing thence into Friuli took service as a soldier in the 
war between Venice and Zara, under the walls of which 
he died in the forty-fifth year of his age. 1 But all these 
details, drawn no one knows whence, are open to grave 
doubts. The documents of the period never mention 
either Pietro Luzzo or Morto da Feltre, while they do 
record a painter, Lorenzo Luzzo of Feltre, whose sur- 
name was Zarato or Zarotto, the author of a beautiful 
picture now in the Berlin Gallery. Lorenzo was a 
deeply religious man, an affectionate and happy 

1 Vasari, Vita del Morto dal Feltro e di Andrea Feltrini, detto di Cosirno. 


husband; on leaving Feltre he went to Venice, where it 
does not seem that he laid siege to other men's wives ; 
he did not go to the wars in Dalmatia, indeed no war 
was raging at that date. On January 8, 1626, he 
made his will, and, with the exception of a few bequests, 
he left the whole of his property to his wife, uxori mee 
dilecle ; according to his express desire he was to be 
buried in the cemetery of the Observantines at San 
Francesco della Vigna. 1 Thus it seems that the story 
of Giorgione's love affair is reduced to a myth. 

Zorzi da Castelfranco's brief existence is balanced 
by the long and brilliant career of his rival Titian, who 
was born at Pieve di Cadore about the year i48o, but 
who, at the age of ten, came to Venice, which he always 
looked on as his real home. 2 Titian enjoyed the pro- 
tection of emperors and the friendship of kings and 
princes, but to the close of his long life he was a slave 
to nothing save the beauty of the fair sex. Of his life 
we know much, 3 but not always for certain ; the exact 
date of his birth is in doubt, for some do not admit, 
though wrongly, that the artist lived to the age of 
ninety-nine ; 4 nor till lately did we know anything 
about his marriage or about his wife Cecilia. 5 Docu- 
ments recently brought to light enable us to assist at 
his wedding, and admit us to the intimacy of his 

1 Gaffi, II Morto da Feltre, in the Arch. Stor. Lombardo, fasc. IV. 
Milano, 1888. 

2 He speaks in those terms of Venice, in a letter to the presidents of 
Brescia. Zamboni, Mem. di Brescia, p. ifa. Brescia, 1778. 

3 Cavalcaselle and Crowe, Tiziano, la sua vita e i suoi tempi, trans. Firenze, 
1877. Gronau, Tizian. Berlin, 1900. 

4 Cook (Giorgione) believes that Titian was born either in 1^89 or 
1^90. Gronau (Repertorium Jiir Kunstwissenschaft. Band XXIV, 1901) 
confirms, with the aid of fresh documents, the tradition that Titian died 
at the age of ninety-nine or a little less, in 1576. The date of his death 
is certain. 

5 Cadorin (Dello amore ai Veneziani di T. V., p. i3, Venezia, i833) 
says that Tiziano amb nella sua giovinezza Cecilia di un ajjetto fatto sacro dalle 
legrji divine. Ticozzi (Vite dei VecelV, Lib. I, cap. II, Venezia, 181 7) says 
that Titian si accasb con Lucia (?) cittadina veneziana. 


domestic life with a vividness worthy of one of the 
master's own pictures. 1 

On October 25, i55o, while Titian was at Inns- 
bruck, Doctor Pietro Assonica come commesso dello 
Exellente messer Tucian, presented to the Court of the 
Esaminador a petition that certain witnesses should he 
heard in order to prove that in December, i525, Titian 
had taken Madonna Cecilia as his lawful wife. It 
would seem, from a document dealing with the murder 
of a certain Luigi of Cyprus, Titian's servant, that in 
1 525 the painter was living in confinlo Sancti Pauli in 
domibus de ka Trono ; 2 it was not till i53i that he 
went to live at the Biri Grande, in the parish of San 
Canciano, where he died on August 27, 1676. In the 
house at San Polo there lived with Titian his brother 
Francesco, who went back to Pieve di Cadore in 1527 and 
died in i56o, and Cecilia, daughter of the quondam ser 
Ato de maistro Jacomo barbier de Peravol de Cadore, 
who must have gone with the painter as housekeeper, or, 
as they then said, as mammola. 3 Behind all the brilliant 
figures of women painted or loved by Titian lies this 
love for the poor peasant girl who had presented him 
with two sons, Pomponio and Orazio. This love affair 

1 Ludwig, Neue Funde im Staatsarchiv zu Venedig, in the Jahrbuch, 
cit., suppl. to Vol. XXIV, 1903. 

2 We will quote the document which proves that Titian, before living at 
the Biri, lived at San Polo and not at San Samuele, as Cavalcaselle asserts. 
" Nobilis vir Baptista Quirino de confinio Sancti Thome inculpatus de 
mense novembri MDXXYIII vulnerasse quondam Aloysium de Cvpro tunc 
temporis servitorem raagistri Tutiani pictoris habitatoris in confinio Sancti 
Pauli in domibus de ka Trono uno ulnore de punta sub occulo synistro, ex 
quo de presenti vita migravit." Saccardo, G., Due avventure tragiche e una 
abitazione di Tiziano in Venezia (in the Arch, \rneto, T. XXXV, p. 407). 
In i565 another servant of Titian's, called Mattia, a man from Cadore, 
was killed by a certain Miccolo Rampogna, a shoemaker. 

8 A word not found in dictionaries but frequently in documents. In 
general it means concubine, although in some wills the mammola is really 
the housekeeper. In the will of Yinconzo Catena the painter leaves to his 
mammola Mencga Furlana, daughter of a furrier in Udine, three hundred 
ducats and his personal clothing. Crowe and Cavalcaselle, Hist, of Paint' 
ing in North Italy, Vol. I, p. a 5a. London, 1871. 


began perhaps in i520, and when in i5a5 Cecilia fell 
seriously ill, Titian felt desirous that their union should 
be blessed by the priest, and consulted his brother Fran- 
cesco ; the brief dialogue is full of a natural grace. 
"Francesco," says Titian, "io voria spoxar Cecilia 
. . . nostra de casa, per respecto che ho due fioli 
maschi con lie, la qual e inferma, a cib li siano legi- 
timi"; and Francesco answers, "Mi son contento, et 
mi meraviglio che sie stato tanto a farlo. Questa e 
bona opera, et ve exorto ch'el debiate far al presente." 
Accordingly Francesco, at Titian's request, went to fetch 
Don Paolo, priest of San Giovanni Nuovo, and his 
brother Geronimo, the painter's apprentice, el quale era 
puto allora de anni quindexe incircha ; 1 also the gold- 
smith Niccolo, who had his shop at the sign of the 
Cross at San Matteo, in Rialto, and Master Silvestro 
the stone-cutter, who lived at San Silvestro. All these 
persons assembled at Titian's house, and, says Don 
Paolo when giving evidence before the Court of the 
Esaminador, twenty-five years later, io come sacerdote 
fici le parole in similibus necessarie for the benediction 
of the union, while Francesco Vecellio adds siendo dicta 
Cecilia in lecto presenti tatti li sopra nominati et cusi 
con alegreza cenassemo tatti insieme quella sera. Cecilia 
recovered and lived for five years longer, and blessed 
her legitimate spouse with two daughters, one of whom 
died young, the other grew up to be the lovely Lavinia. 
Cavalcaselle recognises the joy of paternity expressed 
by Titian in the Madonna del Coniglio, now in the 
Louvre ; a most graceful composition, with the Ma- 
donna seated mid the pleasant landscape of the Isonzo 
and the Tagliamento, resting her hand on a white 

1 Geronimo was an apprentice in Titian's studio. In all probability 
he is the painter known as Girolamo di Tiziano ; his family name was 
Dente, not Dante, as Boschini has it. In the church of San Giovanni 
Nuovo, where his brother Don Paolo officiated, there is an altar-piece by 
Girolamo painted for the confraternity of SS. Gosma e Damiano. Lud- 
wig, Neue Funde, cit. 


rabbit, tbe Child and Saint Catherine keeping her 
company. The death of Cecilia on August 5, i53o, 
plunged Titian into the profoundest grief; the idea of 
a second marriage never crossed his mind, but he 
summoned his sister, Orsa, from Cadore to be a 
mother to his children, and she lived with him for 
twenty years. Orsa died in March, i55o, and Aretino 
wrote a touching letter of condolence to Titian on the 
loss of a woman who had been to him not only sister 
but daughter, mother, companion, and guardian of his 
domestic affairs. 1 If Titian found little comfort from 
his eldest son Pomponio, who disgraced his priestly 
robes by his orgies and his extravagances, he was at 
least happy in the affection of his two other children, 
Orazio, who was no poor painter, and his beloved 
Lavinia, who married Cornelio Sarcinelli of Serravalle 
in i555. 

In the joyous life of Venice the figure of the artist 
called Pordenone from his birthplace in Friuli, where 
he was born in i484, stands out with boldness and 
vigour. His father was a well-to-do master builder, 
called Angelo de Lodesanis, or De Corticellis, from the 
village of Corticelle, near Brescia, Avhence he originally 
came. In notarial deeds the painter Giovanni Antonio 
di Pordenone is also called Sachiense, or De Sachis, 
or Regillo, a surname that descended to his offspring. 2 
His worldly spirit, with its haughty and chivalrous 
ideas, displayed no less in his artistic conceptions than 
in his manner of expressing them, 3 reflected his tem- 
perament, the piujiera, says Lanzi, la piu risolula, piu 
grande di tutla la vencla scuola. Arrogant he certainly 
was, and prone to violence ; for example, in i5io, in the 
streets of Pordenone he came to blows with Bartolamio 

1 Aretino, Lettere, Lib. V, a43. 

2 Joppi, Contribute Terzo alia Storia delV Arte in Friuli, pp. 39 et seq. 
(in Ihe Miscellanea della R. Dep. di Storia Veneta, Vol. XII. Venezia, 

■ Morelli, G., Della pitt. it., p. 3o8. 


of Marostica ; * and again in io34, when he had a 
quarrel over money matters with his brother Baldassare 
which ended in bloodshed. 2 In i538 he went to 
Ferrara to finish some designs for the Duke Hercole II, 3 
but after a few days he fell ill and died at the hostelry 
of the Angelo, not without suspicion of poison. He 
was buried, on January id, i§3o,, in the church of 
San Paolo at Ferrara. 4 The most recent and diligent 
critics have supposed that Bernardino Licinio was a 
disciple, successor, and relation of Pordenone, and they 
even hold that he came from the city of Pordenone. 
But Giovanni Antonio Regillo never called himself 
Licinio, and the painters who bore this name were, as 
we shall see, from Bergamo. 

Hitherto both the birthplace of Andrea Meldola, 
called Schiavone, and the date of his death have been a 
matter of doubt. He was thought to have been born 
in Sebenico, but really saw the light at Zara, as we 
learn from his will. The necrologies give us the date 
of his death in Venice as December 1, i56i, not i582, 
as Moschini has it, and the cause mat de mazzucco, or 

Paolo Caliari was born in Verona about the year 
1527. 6 He belonged to an unpretending family of 

1 Joppi, op. clt., p. 37. 

2 Maniago, Stoi-ia delle belle avti fr'uxlane, pp. 3a4-33o. Udine, i8a3. 
8 Joppi says Alfonso 1, but Alfonso died in i554- Hercole II had 

ordered some designs for tapestries, and Pordenone began them in Venice, 
choosing subjects from the Odyssey (Ridolfi, Vol. I, pp. 162 et seq.). On 
the 1 6th September, i538, Hercole wrote a letter to his ambassador 
Giacomo Tebaldi, expressing a wish that Pordenone should come to 
Ferrara to finish the work. But though Pordenone promised to leave on 
September 19, he only set out on receipt of a curt note from the Duke 
dated December 12, and reached Ferrara on the last days of i538. He 
died in January, 1 539, fr° m a violent flux, accompanied by terrible pains 
in the stomach. 

* Campori, Atti Deput. di st. pat. per la prov. mod. e parm., Vol. Ill, 
p. 186. 

5 The date of Paolo's birth is not clearly established. Some give the 
year i53o; Burckhardt gives i528. 1627 is a more probable date, based 
on the following entry in the parish books of Santa Cecilia in Verona : 


stone-cutters. At the close of the year i55/j, or the 
beginning of i555, Paolo was painting the villa of the 
Porto family at Thiene, when he was summoned to 
Venice by his compatriot Padre Bernardo Tolioni, prior 
of the Gerolamini at San Sebastiano. 1 Paolo's temper 
was frank, generous, gay, but he was subject to sudden 
and violent outbursts of passion, a common trait in 
nobler spirits who are incapable of concealing their 
emotions under hypocritical disguises. Some secret 
reason for his long sojourn in the monastery of San 
Sebastiano has been conjectured, and it is said that for 
some grave offence he was interned in the village of 
Zerman in the marches of Treviso ; even the story that 
when painting the Palladian villa of Galdogno in the 
district of Vicenza, he slew Giannantonio Fasolo in a 
fit of jealousy, has found credence. The painter's 
memory has been cleansed of these lying accusations. 
He was, in fact, honest, kindly, and modest to such a 
degree that, doubting his own ability, he sent his son 
Carlo to study under Bassano, and always said with 
fatherly pride, " Carletto mi vincera." A man of 
method and sobriety, he managed his family affairs with 
such thrift that he laid by quite a respectable fortune, 
and bought a farm of forty-five campi at Sant' Angelo 
di Treviso, along with a good dwelling-house and 
courtyard. 2 On April 20, i566, he married the 
daughter of his uncle and first teacher, Antonio Badile. 
He painted the beautiful Elena Badile, when quite 
young, in the " Supper at Emmaus," where she appears 

" 1 5/j 1. Magister Antonius Badili pictor quondam Hieronymi ann. 60, 
Paulus ejus discipulus lb," etc. See Zannandreis, Le vite dei pitt., scult. e 
arch, veronesi, p. 161. Verona, 1891. 

1 Paolo painted the likeness of Padre Tolioni as San Francesco in the 
altar-piece in the church of San Sebastiano. The ceiling of S. Sebastiano 
was finished November 10, 1 555. The date appears on an open book held 
by two children in one of the roundels of the ceiling. This enables us to 
fix the end of i554, or the beginning of i555, as the date of Paolo's arrival 
in Venice. 

2 Caliari, Paolo Veronese, p. i^G. Roma. 1888. 


as the mistress of the house, very handsomely dressed ; * 
and again, when well on in years, in a portrait in the 
Pitti Palace. Elena hore Paolo two sons, Carlo and 
Gabriel, both distinguished painters, Paolo's brother, 
Benedetto, was also a good artist, who frequently helped 
his brother, and never showed jealousy if Paolo received 
the higher praise. Paolo has given us a fine portrait of 
Benedetto in the " Marriage of Gana " in the Louvre ; 
he is the figure holding a cup close to the group of 
musicians in which Titian is playing the double bass, 
Bassano the flute, Tintoretto the harpsicord, and Paolo 
himself the 'cello. Veronese loved his family, his 
house, his adopted home, so dearly that he refused the 
invitation of Philip II to go to Spain. On the other 
hand, he gladly visited the country houses of Vene- 
tian patricians, though he never made a long sojourn 
except at Este, with the Pisani family, whose hospitality 
he handsomely repaid by a gift of the picture, "The 
Family of Darius at the Feet of Alexander." On April 
19, 1 588, in his house in the parish of San Samuele, 
Paolo died of a pleurisy contracted eight days before at 
Sant' Angelo di Treviso, owing to his overheating 
himself when following the Easter procession of the 
faithful. He was buried in the church of San Sebas- 
tiano, and the lovely creations of his genius keep watch 
above his tomb. Eight years later his son Carlo, the 
pride and hope of his father, succumbed to a consump- 
tion at the age of twenty-six. 

Bonifazio, like Paolo, was born at Verona, and, like 
his compatriot, proved himself a brilliant colourist. 
The life of no other painter of the period has presented 
such doubts and errors, for down to our own day it has 
been held that under the name of Bonifazio we must 
distinguish two, three, and even four different masters. 2 

1 Meissner, Paolo Veronese, p. 74. Leipzig, 1897. 

2 All the early historians agree in giving the name Bonifazio to one 
master only, born either in Venice or in Verona. Giannantonio Moschini 


An obscure Veronese painter called Bonifazio Pasini 
was born in 1^89, and enrolled in the confraternity of 
SS. Siro e Libera, where he held the post of sacristan ; 
he married Alferana Palermi, daughter of a lawyer, and 
had one daughter, Cassandra, wife of the tailor Bar- 
tolomeo de Salarinis. This Bonifazio Pasini never 
left Verona, where he died in i54o. We know nothing 
of his work. It is certain that he was not connected 
either by blood or by profession with the other 
Bonifazio who was born in Verona in 1^91, not in 
1A87, and belonged to the ancient family dei Pitati. 
His father was a soldier ; but Bonifazio, more inclined 
to peaceful pursuits, came to Venice at the age of 
eighteen and entered the studio of Jacopo Palma il 
Vecchio. After that master's death Bonifazio con- 
tinued in friendly relations with the Palma family, and 
gave his niece, Giulia, in marriage to Antonio Palma, 
Jacopo's nephew. Bonifazio himself married Marietta, 
daughter of a certain Zuan Brunello, a basket-maker, 
and widow of a De Grassi. This union was not 

was the first to point out, in the index of artists to his Guida di Venezia, 
i865, that Zanetti was in error in that after adducing documentary 
evidence of the death of Bonifazio on October 19, i553, he goes on to 
ascribe to the master pictures dated 1 558 and 1579. Moschini concluded 
from the facts that we must recognise at least two masters hearing the 
name of Bonifazio. Much later Cesare Bernasconi discovered a document 
which proved that a painter, Bonifazio Pasini of Verona, died in i5£o 
(Rcgistro della Confratcrnita detta il Collcgio, in the archives of the church 
of SS. Siro e Libera in Verona). Then Giovanni Morelli, after examining 
the various works, came to the conclusion that we must recognise two 
Veronese masters bearing the name, and one or perhaps two Venetian 
Bonifazii. The two elder, relations and perhaps brothers, came early to 
Venice and joined the studio of Palma il Vecchio. The first of these was 
a lively genius, while the second was a faithful follower; both had as 
pupil a third Bonifazio, considerably younger and possibly the son of one 
or other of the elder Bonifazii. As the younger Bonifazio was born in 
Venice, he has a right to the name Venetian (Giov. Morelli, Le opere dei 
maestri it. nolle Gallerie di Monaco, Drcsda, Bcrlino, ital. trans., p. 188. 
Bologna, 1886.) The ingenious conjecture of Morelli has been for the 
most part destroyed by documents discovered recently by Ludwig (Boni- 
fazio di Pitati da Verona, eine Archivalische Untersuchung, in the Jahrbuch, 
Band XXII, 1901). 


blessed with offspring, and the couple, as it would 
seem from the terms of their will, bestowed their whole 
affections on their nephews, especially on two of them, 
who were heirs of their uncle's artistic methods, Bat- 
tista, son of Giacomo, known as Battista di Bonifazio, 
and Antonio Palma, who had wedded Bonifazio' s 
niece, Giulia. This Antonio, whose pictures were at 
one time attributed to a third Bonifazio, was the father 
of Giacomo Palma, born in i544, and called the 
younger to distinguish him from his grand-uncle of the 
same name. Bonifazio de' Pitati passed his life peace- 
fully in Venice. He received important commissions 
from the Republic, and decorated with his brilliant 
brush the Palace of the Gamerlenghi. He enjoyed a 
high character among his brother artists, and the Guild 
named him and Titian and Lotto to distribute a legacy 
which the painter Vincenzo Catena had left to dower 
five poor maids. After years of long and fruitful toil 
Bonifazio withdrew to the quiet of his little villa at 
San Zenone, near Asolo, una caxeta de muro con suo 
bruolo et or to, and fifteen acres of land. He died in 
Venice, on October 9, 1 5 53, in his house at San Mar- 
cuola, 1 and was buried in Sant' Alvise. 

It was also in this out-of-the-way part of Venice 
that Tintoretto dwelt. On the fondamenta dei Mori 
there still stands the graceful Gothic palace wherein 
Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto from his father's 
humble calling, lived from June, 1674, to the day of 
his death, May 3i, i5o,4. Jacopo was of a retir- 
ing disposition, and preferred the intimacy of his 
family circle surrounded by his children, among whom 
he especially loved Domenico, a skilful painter, and 
Marietta, who, besides being expert at music, also 
enjoyed the reputation of a clever artist. Concerts 

1 As early as i5a8 Bonifazio was living at San Marcuola, as is proved 
by a document dated October 7 in that year, Io bonifatio di pitati Veronese 
pictor al presente dela contra de S n Marcola in Venetia. Ludwig, loc. cit. 


were often given at Tintoretto's house, and the master, 
himself a good performer, used to accompany the songs 
of his daughter Marietta, who was a pupil of the 
Neapolitan master Giulio Zacchino. But Marietta died 
in the thirtieth year of her age, to the intense grief of 
her father, who in his inconsolahle old age saw rela- 
tions, masters, friends, slip from him one by one. 
In Tintoretto's temperament no less than in his manner, 
there is something that recalls Michelangelo. He 
spoke little, and was often rude to the powerful ; he 
was no flatterer or hypocrite ; he was one of the few 
who dared to resist the baneful authority of Aretino, 
before whom the rest of the world quailed. Aretino 
once had spoken ill of the master ; when, by accident, 
Tintoretto met him in the street, he asked Aretino to 
come home with him, as he wished to paint his portrait. 
Aretino consented, but hardly was he posed when 
Tintoretto, in apparent fury, whipped out a dagger 
from beneath his doublet. Aretino in alarm began to 
cry for help, nor would he be pacified until he was 
convinced that Tintoretto did not mean to stab him, 
but merely to give him a playful hint. Aretino never 
spoke ill of the master again and even became his 
friend. Tintoretto's rugged countenance, which re- 
flected the austerity of his character, remained for long 
a tradition among Venetian artists. It is reproduced in 
caricature on one of the stalls in the hall of the Scuola 
di San Rocco, where the Venetian sculptor Francesco 
Pianta (i 660-1 670) has represented the great master, 
with his brows puckered up, crouching among his 
brushes, pots, and colours. 

The grave figure of Tintoretto stands out against the 
background of joyous Venetian life, and here and 
there in this world of movement we meet with some 
other gentle spirit, enamoured of silence, some win- 
ning artistic temperament wrapped in an atmosphere of 
sweet and pensive dreams. Such was the character of 


Lorenzo Lotto, a passionately mystic soul, whom Titian 
described come la virtu virtuoso e come la bonth buono. 
And in fact Lotto was devoted to the beautiful and 
the good ; he passes through life as the last solitary 
worshipper of the old ideals now lost or cast aside. 
He calmly, nay, almost joyfully, endured the perpetual 
struggle between the lofty aspirations of his inner self 
and the grinding conditions of his daily life. He was 
not born, as some believed, at Treviso or at Bergamo, 
but in Venice, about the year i^8o. Homo poco avven- 
lurato, as his friend Giovanni dal Coro says of him. 
His spirit, ever aiming at the purer joys of noble ideals, 
was forced to struggle for the bare necessities of a life 
passed in bitter poverty. The master who, in the trip- 
tych at Recanati, touched a height of sublime and 
lofty feeling ungrasped by any other artist, has kept a 
pathetically careful account of all that he gained by his 
art. 1 In order to earn his daily bread he was obliged 
to paint comb-cases, and thought himself lucky if his 
pictures were paid for in wine, cheese, ham, and flour ; 
for he experienced the humiliation of having his paint- 
ings returned on his hands occasionally, as happened 
in the case of his portrait of Giovan Maria Pizone, 
protonotary in Ancona. To make anything by it, the 
master was forced to turn the protonotary into Saint 
Bartholomew and to sell it to Bartolomeo Garpan, a 
jeweller of Treviso, settled in Venice, who paid him by 
a small gold ring set with a diamond and a tiny ruby, 
which he employed to make a present to Lauretta, 
daughter of his nephew Mario d'Armano, in whose 
house Lorenzo lived for two years. This hospitality 
he repaid by putting in his nephew's cellars the oil, 
vinegar, hams, and cheeses which his paintings brought 
him, and by giving little Lauretta orange satin slippers 
and yellow socks. To the best of his modest means he 

1 Libro dei conti di Lorenzo Lotto, 1 538-1 556 (published in the Gallerie 
nazionali italiane, first year, p. n5. Roma, 1894). 


repaid his other friends and well-wishers who gave 
shelter to the poor painter, solo, senza fidel governo el 
molto inquieto della mente, as he himself says in his 
will, dated March a4, i546, in the hostelry in voltaa 
Corona at San Matteo di Rialto. 1 The blows of fortune 
he received with resignation, exclaiming Dio lodalol 
Grown old and with eyesight dimmed, he became a lay- 
brother in the Holy House of Lore to, per non andarsi 
advolgendo piii nella vecchiaia e per quiete di sua vita, 
which came to a close on September i, i556. 

Dario Varotari, too, died a monk, with thoughts 
entirely turned to Heaven. He was born at Verona in 
i539, and founded a school at Padua from which came 
his son Alessandro, called Padovanino. Dario, one 
day, was painting a sundial on the facade of a villa 
which Acquapendente, the famous physician, was 
building near Battaglia, when the scaffolding broke 
and Dario fell to the ground, but unhurt. The pious 
painter recognised a miracle, and returning straightway 
to Padua, he took the habit of a Carmelite friar in grati- 
tude for his delivery. But within a few days he died, 
in the year i5q6. 2 

Paris Bordon also belongs to this group of gentle 
souls. From his pictures, especially from certain 
suggestive mythological compositions and from the 
nude figure at Vienna, one would suppose him to have 
been among the most voluptuous of Venetian painters, 
but as a fact he was sober and temperate in his mode 
of life, frank in manner, superior to envy, averse to 
flattery, and careless of praise. He was born at Tr'eviso 
in July, i5oo, the son of Giovanni Bordon and Angelica 
Gradenigo of Venice. 3 It has been supposed that Paris 
belonged, on his father's side, to an ancient and noble 
family of Treviso, and on his mother's to the Venetian 

1 Archivio Veneto, XXXIV, 35 1. 

a Ridolfi, op. cit., II, 275. 

8 Bailoand Biscaro, Delia vita e delle opera di P. Bordon. Treviso, 1900. 


patriciate ; but that is not the case, he came of a race 
that was neither noble nor rich. His father followed 
the calling of saddler, and his ancestors the still 
humbler one of shoemaker ; it is a mere legend that 
the name Bordon was given to one of these ancestors 
because of his skill in fashioning pilgrims' staves. 
Nor, though she bore the illustrious name of Gradenigo, 
are we to suppose that his mother belonged to that 
noble race, but merely to a family of Venetian cittadini. 
It is true that this son of the people acquired by his 
own merits a rank far higher, and won for himself a 
position at the splendid Court of the Fine Arts in the 
glorious company of Giorgione, Titian, Palma, Vero- 
nese, Tintoretto. At the age of eight Paris was left in 
sole charge of his widowed mother, by whom he was 
taken to her home to receive his early education in 
Venice. His long sojourn in the district of Belluno has 
given rise to the story that he was banished to the 
mountains, or had sought refuge there to escape from 
wrath and persecution ; this seems improbable when we 
consider the amiable qualities of this master, whose 
manner reveals that intense love of country solitude 
which inspired the deep poetic feeling that he breathes 
into the backgrounds of his pictures, so strikingly in 
contrast with their subjects, which are sumptuous and 
joyous in colour and in expression, — backgrounds that 
suggest the very spirit of lonely recesses in the moun- 
tains, bubbling founts and cool umbrageous forests. It 
was peace he sought in his modest little villa of Lova- 
dina, where before him lay the valley of the Piave with 
its meadows rich in harvest, and in the pale blue distance 
the mountains of Cadore. Io ho de proprio in la villa de 
Luvadina : una chaxeta de muro coperta de copi, he 
says in a declaration made for valuation purposes on 
January 16, i537, and presented at Treviso ; and in 
another declaration made in Venice in the same year, 
he speaks again of his caxela in la qual parte ne abitto 


mi Paris in laltra lo vilan che governa li campi. His 
marriage to Cinzia, daughter of Bartolomeo Spa 
(Spada), a Venetian citizen, cannot be dated much 
earlier than i536, in which year we have a will by 
Cinzia, in which she declares herself with child and 
devises her property to her offspring. This marriage 
was blessed by the birth of one son, Giovanni, also a 
painter, 1 and four daughters, Angelica, Lucrezia, Cas- 
sandra, and Ottavia. The fame of the master was not 
confined to Venetian territory but spread to distant 
lands. About i538 Paris was invited to the Court of 
Francis I. 2 The French Court still retained the 
memory of Leonardo da Vinci, who had died nineteen 
years earlier, and without seeking for points of similar- 
ity between the two geniuses who were, in truth, too 
diverse in manner, it may not be amiss to observe that 
the Trevisan master may have helped to recall the 
great Leonardo. Like him, Paris was an able musician 
as well as painter ; like him the Trevisan was noble in 
aspect, refined and dignified in manner. Tradition 
affirms these qualities, and the portrait in the Museum 
at Treviso, were its authenticity not in doubt, would 
go to confirm the statement. Paris came back to 
Venice and spent his days in quiet and fruitful labour. 
•■ Se ne sta con comodita in casa quietamente," says 
Vasari, who certainly knew Bordon in Venice. Bor- 
don was able to enjoy the somma tranquillila e pace 
which he loved in the silent hermitage of his house in 
the Corte del Cavallo, near the fondamenta della Mise- 
ricordia, where the boats from Treviso landed. 3 He 

1 In the books of the Guild of Painters, i53o, we find Bordon Paris 
figure?-, and from i58a to 1587 Bordon Zuanne, q. Paris. 

2 The Fuggers invited Bordon to Augsburg, and there he painted the 
portrait of Jerome Crofft which was in the collection of Louis XVI and is 
now in the Louvre. It is dated i54o. 

8 Bordon lived at San Giuliano till i5i8, then at San Moise till i5ao, 
then at the Madonna dell' Orto in the Corte del Cavallo, so called because 
Leopardi, author of the Colleoni monument, lived there. 


died on January 19, 1571, and was buried in the 
church of San Marcilian (Marziale) in Venice. 

The fiery vigour which stamps the work of Ales- 
sando Vittoria found no counterpart in his mind or 
in his life. His imagination ran widely free, but his 
spirit obeyed the laws of order ; his hand, which 
modelled with incomparable skill both clay and stucco 
into the most fantastic forms, lent itself to the placid 
tending of the flowers in the garden of his house in 
the Galle della Pieta at San Giovanni in Bragora, where 
stood his portrait bust made by himself. 1 In this trim 
and quiet abode he made his will on May /i, 1608, signing 
himself Alessandro Vittoria della Volpefudi Vigilio Tren- 
tino. 2 He died twenty-three days later, and was buried 
in San Zaccaria in a tomb designed by himself. 

Another spirit in antithesis to the temper of his 
day was Jacopo da Ponte, called Bassano from his 
native city, where he saw the light in i5io. After 
learning the rudiments of his art from his father, he 
went to Venice, but soon returned to Bassano, where 
his quiet home was cheered by the presence of a loving 
wife and four sons, none of whom reached the excel- 
lence of their father but were nevertheless distinguished 
as painters. Jacopo was so modest that he preferred 
his sojourn in Bassano, and refused the invitation of 
Rudolph II to the Imperial Court. As a lover of 
rural quiet, and intent on the study of the simpler 
side of life which other artists had neglected, and on 
the observation of the minutest details of the country, 
the silence of the fields gave him leisure for work and 
meditation and helped him to reach the eightieth year 
of his life (d. i5q,2). 

The ablest of his sons, the unfortunate Francesco, 
did not end his days so peacefully. He was born at 
Bassano in i54o,, and though surrounded by the affection 

1 The bust was sold in i83a to the King of Prussia. 

2 Tassini, Curiositd Veneziane, pp. 56o, 56i. 
vol. i, — i a 


of his family and encouraged by the prospect of fame, 
the light of his intelligence was obscured in the very 
flower of his manhood. With terrible anguish he 
watched the shipwreck of his brain ; the smallest in- 
cident would inspire a mortal dread; and so, on July 
[\, 1592, hearing a knocking at the door he thought 
the police had come to arrest him and in a panic he 
flung himself from the window and was killed. 1 

These few particulars — some well known already, 
others hardly so — about the Venetian artists of the 
Renaissance gives us a rapid synthesis of the lives of 
these men who concentrated round the name of Venice 
the glory attached to art. Some found happiness in 
solitude, others in the sparkle of companionship, but one 
and all, according to their natural bent, sought to keep 
themselves apart from and unspotted by the vexations 
and vulgarities of ordinary life. The worst mishap 
that can befall an artist, the criticism of the incompe- 
tent whether patrician or plebeian, never ruffled them, 
never caused them pain or discouragement. Paolo 
Veronese painted a picture of Paradise for some nuns ; 
the figures in the background were naturally less care- 
fully finished and less strong in colour ; the good nuns 
who knew nothing about the matter were far from 
satisfied, and when a Flemish painter passed their way 
with his carefully finished little pictures, they openly 
regretted that they had not given the commission to 
him. The Fleming, thereupon, offered to exchange a 
work of his own for Paolo's ; the bargain was accepted, 
and the astute trickster sold Paolo's " Paradiso " for 
four hundred crowns. 2 But the opinion of the ig- 
norant had no power to hurt these great Venetian 
masters ; fully conscious of their own merits, they 
met stupidity with irony, which sometimes, as with 

1 Francesco Bassano lived in the parish of San Canciano. The necrol- 
ogy says lie died "per essersi buttato giu da un balcone per frenesia." 
* Ridolfi, op. cit., II, 4o. 


Veronese, was light and graceful, sometimes, as with 
Tintoretto, had all the sting of a lash. 

Tintoretto was wont to treat his rivals not merely to 
brusque speech but also to pranks at their expense. 
He was commissioned to paint the facade of the Soranzo 
Palace at the Ponte dell' Angelo in fresco, and his 
enemies went about saying that, as the common phrase 
has it, it would take both hands and feet to carry out 
the job. Tintoretto finished the work with his usual 
ease, and in the upper part of the design he drew a row 
of hands and feet holding, supporting, grasping, thrust- 
ing the cornice, and thus by way of an ironical joke he 
fulfilled the prophecy of his detractors. More biting 
and stinging still were certain phrases which Tintoretto 
would let drop without a smile. On one occasion a 
vain and foolish old nobleman wished to have his 
portrait painted, and would never have done urging the 
master to be careful to reproduce exactly the lace, gold, 
and rich stuffs with which he was adorned ; at last 
Tintoretto, losing all patience, burst out, " Ande dal 
Bassan a farve ritrar " (Go and get yourself painted by 
Bassano), who was universally known as an animal 
painter. On another occasion Tintoretto's studio was 
crowded with prelates and Senators, one of whom, see- 
ing the speed with which the master painted, ventured 
to remark that Giambellino and other artists worked 
more slowly but their pictures were more accurately 
finished, whereupon Tintoretto drily retorted that they 
no doubt were able to finish their pictures as they were 
not surrounded by such a pack of tiresome bores as he 
was. At this, Senators and prelates said not a word, 
but went. Such was the liberty enjoyed by artists in 
Venice at a time when Italian and foreign sovereigns 
demanded from art nothing but flattery and the satis- 
faction of their vanity. The Holy Office, however, did 
not show itself so indulgent to the caprices of Vene- 
tian painters. Paolo Veronese, though a man of the 


profoundest piety, gave rein to all sorts of fantastic 
ideas in his pictures, even of religious subjects. In the 
picture of the Last Supper, painted for the monks of 
SS. Giovanni e Paolo, he introduced into the com- 
pany of Our Lord German Landsknechts with halberd 
in hand, men-servants bleeding at the nose, buffoons 
with parrots, apostles picking their teeth with their 
forks, — episodes which to a timid mind might suggest 
profanity. The Inquisition called on Veronese to ex- 
plain simili buffbnerie ; the artist gave the subtle reply 
that he painted figures, not ideas, and that painters had 
the right to take quella licentia che si pigliano i poeti e i 
matti, and added, ' ' Io fazzo le pitture con quella con- 
sideration che e conveniente, che 'I mio intelletto puo 
capire." He was condemned to alter his picture, but 
he simply continued a non prendere tante cose in con- 
sideration. After three centuries we still can see this 
magician of the brush, with his high forehead, his 
piercing glance, his lips wreathed in a smile, his whole 
body full of grace and vigour. He was indeed very 
careful of his spare and graceful figure, and though 
somewhat parsimonious he invariably wore fine cloth- 
ing and velvet breeches. Indeed it is remarkable that 
many Venetian artists were careful about their dress. 
Tintoretto always had a handsome wardrobe, and when 
his reputation was secure he bought a sumptuous robe 
in order to please his wife, who used to stand at the 
window and follow him with pride as he left the house. 
Vasari says that Jacopo Sansovino liked to dress hand- 
somely, and always took great care of his person, 
4 ' piacendoli tuttavia le femmine fino all' ultima vec- 
chiezza : delle quali si contentava assai il ragionarne." 
Giovanni Gontarini, a clever and lively colourist, also 
wore a robe in his later years, though in his youth he 
liked to adorn himself with chains and gilded clasps, 
and hats with sweeping plumes. So too the vivacious 
Leandro Bassano, son of Jacopo, affected clothes of rich 


stuffs, and chains round his neck, and the badge of 
San Marco. 1 

The serenity which delights us in the paintings of 
these Venetian artists is reflected in the whole tenor 
of their lives. The spiritual calm of some of them 
acted as a continual check on their passions and their 
actions. Palma il Giovane had no other object in 
life than his work, from which the profoundest grief 
was powerless to distract him ; in his art he sought 
consolation for the death of his two sons, one of whom 
died in Naples, the other ended in a life of debauchery ; 
and as his wife was being borne towards the tomb, he 
set himself to paint to escape from his pain. 2 Misfor- 
tune never overcame him, and he passed away quietly 
in the house of the Basadonna family at Santa Giustina 
in 1628 ; just before he expired he asked for a pencil 
and wrote : " Io vedo e sento, ma non posso parlare." 
Andrea Palladio, who from his portraits and from his 
writings would seem to have had a touch of melancholy , 
is reported by a contemporary to have possessed a very 
pleasing and pretty wit in conversation ; he was the 
delight of society, while he also had a gracious way 
with his workmen, to whom he taught the rules of 
sound building, the details and the terminology of 
architecture, and kept them all " allegri, trattenendoli 
con molte piacevolezze." 3 

Among them all Titian offers the most refined type 
of the man of pleasure too delicate and sensitive ever 
to pass over into excesses or to stoop to vulgarity. 
From his beautiful garden at the Biri the view opened 
away over the lagoon to the distant Alps. 4 His cham- 
bers were often thrown open to receive his friends, 

1 Ridolfi, Vol. II. 

2 Ibid., p. 426. 

8 Boito, Leonardo, Michelangelo e Palladio, pp. a33, a34. Milano, 

4 The painter Leonardo Corona, of Murano, lived later on in Titian's 


among whom were Giulio Camillo, the famous Flor- 
entine humanist Francesco Priscianese, Aretino, Mar- 
colini, the Zuccato brothers, Sansovino, Jacopo Nardi, 
Donato Giannotti, and some noble ladies like Paoli 
Sansovino, Giulia da Ponte and her daughter Irene da 
Spilimbergo. In i54o, for example, we hear thai 
Francesco Priscianese, Sansovino, and Jacopo Nardi, 
met one evening for supper in Titian's house : the 
lagoon below them was set with thousands of little 
gondolas ornate di bellissime donne e risuonanti di di- 
verse armonie e musiche di voci e d'istrumenli. 1 More 
notable visitors still were welcomed in the charming 
abode at the Biri ; the Spanish Cardinals Granvelle 
and Pacecco dined there, and there Titian received 
princes of the blood, and Henry III of France, accom- 
panied by the Dukes of Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino. 
When the artist felt the need of rest and change from 
the strain of work or the whirl of society, he would 
escape to his favourite haunts at Serravalle, at Ceneda 
or Conegliano. 

Sansovino, too, entertained sumptuously. The earli- 
est fruits of the season were to be found upon his 
table. 2 And many a time the Veronese architect Sam- 
michele had a seat at the board between Titian and 
Aretino. Michele Parrasio, a painter but little known, 
yet not without talent, the intimate friend of Titian 
and of Veronese, to whom he left a legacy, was blessed 
with abundance of this world's goods, and in his well- 
furnished house he welcomed a host of friends, and 
feasted them on dainty food and costly wines, which 
won him many, though not always sincere, admirers of 
his work. 3 

In short, these artists pursued the joy of living with- 
out descending to degrading pleasures, but also without 

1 Priscianese, in a letter included in his treatise Delia lingua romana. 

2 Crowe and Cavalcaselle, Tiziano, I, 458. 
i 8 Ridolfi, II, 33a. .,< 


much regard for rules which are essential to the pres- 
ervation of the social structure. The most upright and 
distinguished artists did not shrink from frequenting 
the salons of the famous courtesan Veronica Franco, 
and were not ashamed of the licentious company of 
Aretino, to whom even the pure and pious Sammichele 
was hound by strong ties of friendship. The austerity 
of his religious profession did not cancel in the mind 
of Sebastiano Luciani, called del Piombo, the recol- 
lections of his light Venetian life, even when he became 
a friar and received an office in the Pontifical Chan- 
cellery. " Non vi meravigliate," he writes in June, 
1 532, to the poet and philosopher Francesco Arsilli of 
Senigallia, "non state ambiguo, che la frateria mi 
faccia mutare natura, che sareste in grandissimo 
errore." 1 Sebastiano drowned his genius in idleness 
and ease ; he liked good food better than his art, and 
was surrounded by a jovial crowd of friends such as 
Molza and Berni : the latter dedicated a poem in triplets 
to him, and the painter friar sent a witty reply. Fra 
Sebastiano was a close friend of Aretino, and in i537 
stood godfather to Aretino's daughter, named Adria 
in compliment to her birthplace, Venice ; he painted 
Aretino's portrait, now in the Town Hall of Arezzo. 

It is easier to understand the intimacy between Titian 
and the shameless adventurer at whose table he often 
sat enjoying the trebbian wine sent to his host by the 
sovereign Lady of Gorreggio, and the thrushes cooked 
with laurel leaves and pepper and the Friulan hams 
that came from the Count of Collalto. The friendship 
between Sansovino, Titian, and Aretino was in fact 
based on a sort of mutual benefit society, and at their 
banquets the three allies were simply enjoying their 
gains in company. 2 

i Gualandi, Mem. risguard. le belle arti, Ser. I, p. 64- Bologna, i84o. 
2 Luzio, Pietro Aretino nei suoi primi anni a Venezia, p. 12. Torino, 


But gaiety and good fortune were not able always 
to hold their own against the attacks of fate, and 
sometimes these artists' lives were troubled and dis- 
turbed by crime and error. All the same, at this period 
in the history of Venetian art, we seldom or never 
come across domestic tragedies or gruesome episodes. 
We hardly ever hear of wounds or murder, and only 
the name of an obscure artist here and there, such as 
Vitruvio Buonconsigiio, called Vitrulio, who in i5a3 
along with the wood-carver Francesco Maio, assaulted 
and wounded by night a certain Iacchia, is stained 
with blood. He was condemned in absence to six 
years' banishment, 1 while in the same year ten years' 
banishment was meted out to the mosaicist Vincenzo 
Bianchini for wounding a barber. 2 Vulgar crimes 
dim the great glory of Antonio Rizzo, the Veronese 
architect, and of Alessandro Leopardi. Rizzo defrauded 
the public treasury of 12,000 ducats, by falsifying the 
accounts of the Ducal Palace. When the crime was 
discovered, he fled. 3 Leopardi, for having forged an 
autograph deed, was condemned in absence, in 1/187, to 
five years' banishment. He fled to Ferrara, but the 
Republic was anxious to finish the Golleoni monument, 
and in 1/498 they granted Leopardi a safe-conduct, and 
nothing more was heard of his banishment. 

If we remember that profound respect for the law 
which was one of the leading characteristics of the 
Venetian government, we cannot but be amazed at such 
facile indulgence which illustrates the value attached to 
art in those days. Patricians were not permitted to 
break the law ; artists occasionally were, even if their 

1 Ludwig, Bonifazio de' Pitati. op. cit. 

2 Zanetti, Delia pitt. Ven., p. 569. Venezia, 1771. 

• "Questo Antonio Rizzo dal novantaotto havea speso ottantamila 
ducati e no era fatto la mitfa della fabbrica ; e fo descoverto che l'haveva 
falsified polizze all* officio del Sal, per 12,000 ducati; e fugf e andete in 
Romagna ; e puoco dapuo morite a Fuligno ; e tutto quel che e sta trova 
del so, ghe & sta venduto." Malipiero, Annali Veneti, Part II, p. 674. 


genius and their fame were insufficient to lend some 
colour to such unwonted clemency. For example, in 
April, 1 52 4, an able glass-blower of Murano, called 
Plinio dal Sol, dele un cortelo nella gola y and killed a 
certain Bortolo de Zan, a Bergamasque. Plinio was 
banished and sought refuge in Mantua. His father 
petitioned the Council of Ten for a pardon, and cun- 
ningly raised a doubt lest, sollecitato dalV illustrissimo 
Duca, his son might possibly levar fornace de cristalli in 
quel loco. The interests of trade overrode the claims 
of justice, and pardon was granted. 1 

But, on the other hand, the severity with which 
artists were sometimes treated seems to offer a curi- 
ous proof of inconsistency, unless we bear in mind 
that governments, even the wisest, are subject to 
human aberrations. The Republic was far from lenient 
towards Andrea dal Verrocchio, who was summoned to 
Venice to make a model for the horse of the Colleoni 
monument. When Andrea was well advanced with 
the work, he learned that the government, yielding to 
solicitation and intrigue, had resolved to leave him the 
horse only, giving the order for the figure to Bellano 
of Padua. Andrea, in a fit of indignation, broke the 
head and legs of his model and left for Florence. The 
Senate condemned him to perpetual banishment from 
Venetian territory on pain of death ; but coming to a 
calmer mood, they recalled him. Andrea returned, and 
began to piece together his broken model ; but death 
overtook him. By his will he desired that his work 
should be continued by his pupil, Lorenzo de' Gredi ; 2 
but his wish was ignored, and Leopardi completed the 

Both Sansovino and the Zuccati experienced similar 
trials. Jacopo Tatti was born in Florence in 1^77, 
and was called Sansovino from the fatherly bringing 

1 Arch, di Stato, Proc. de supra, Deer, e Termin., II, ail. 

2 Gaye, Cart. ined. d'artisti, I, 36g. 


up which he received from Andrea Contucci da Monte 
San Savino in Tuscany. Tatti had already heen in 
Venice in i5a3, and flying from the siege of Rome in 
1627, he returned there to fix his dwelling in the 
lagoons. lie was named Master-builder of the Re- 
public, and the Library was intrusted to him ; but in 
the course of construction, on the night of December 
18, 1 54 5, the vault of the great Hall fell in. The city 
felt the blow as a public calamity, and sorrow quickly 
changed into anger against the person who, in common 
opinion, had failed to prevent the catastrophe. San- 
sovino was imprisoned. The collapse of the vault was 
due to the effect of hard frost on fresh mortar and to 
the salvoes of artillery fired by a ship just arrived from 
Beirut, which shook the structure. In truth, Decem- 
ber is not the month for building walls and vaults; but 
the punishment was excessive for an error on the part 
of a man of such genius, who, as his son Francesco 
rightly claims, had conservata e salvata the Basilica of 
San Marco. Aretino, who, in spite of many vices, was 
not without good qualities and was a stanch friend in 
some cases, comforted the wife of the architect and 
wrote to Titian, who was then in Rome, to implore his 
protection, which proved both prompt and efficacious 
on behalf of their mutual friend. Sansovino's pupils, 
first Danese Gantaneo and then others, along with Don 
Diego de Mendoza, ambassador of Charles V, undertook 
the defence of the master, who, if not unjustly accused, 
was at least too severely punished. Sansovino was re- 
leased from prison, but was subjected to a fine and was 
dismissed from his post as Master-builder, to which he 
was restored only in the following year. 1 He resumed 
his work without displaying any ill-will, and preserved 
his natural serenity of temper, which was only disturbed 
for a time by the bad conduct of his son Francesco, who 

1 Processo fatto a Giacomo Sansovino per la caduta della Libreria. K 
thesis for degree of Doctor. Venezia, i836. 


had been born in Rome in i5ai, and was brought to 
Venice when six years of age. Francesco sowed his 
wild oats and settled down with prolit to his studies. 
He has minutely described the city, which he loved 
as his native land. He bestowed the greatest affection 
on his father, who died in 1670, at the age of ninety- 
three, in the house at the end of the Procuratie Vecchie 
which the government had assigned him in 1529, and 
was buried in San Geminiano. 1 

Another remarkable trial was that of Francesco and 
Valerio Zuccato, the mosaic-workers whose story in- 
spired George Sand's well-known novel. The two 
brothers were at work on the Vision of the Apocalypse 
which covers the inside of the vault over the great 
door of Saint Mark's, when there came to the ears of 
the procurators a charge against the artists ; it was 
whispered, chiefly by their ungrateful pupil Bartolo- 
meo Bozza, that the Zuccato employed in eorum labor e- 
ria et opera plura inconvenientia, 2 especially by using 
the brush in place of mosaic in many parts of their 
work. An inquiry was opened, and in order to deter- 
mine whether fraud existed or not, on May 9, i563, 
Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Schiavone, and other less 
famous artists were called upon for their opinion. 
Though they were unable to deny that certain second- 
ary parts of the composition were painted, they al- 
most unanimously endeavoured to excuse the Zuccato 
brothers. Titian's evidence was the most favourable. 
He admitted brush-work in some places, but added : 
" Io vi dico che quanto aspetta all' opera del mosaico, 
io non vedo da meglio, cioe intendendo delle opere 
tutte della gesia." Titian could not forget the friend- 
ship which bound him to the Zuccato ; he was god- 
father in Francesco's family, che gli battezzb una putta 
che gli morse, and yielding to his feeling of affection 

1 Cicogna, Iscriz., VII, 16. 

2 Arch, di Stato, Proc. 182, B. 78. 


he concluded by saying, a me par che i ghe fazza torto a 
questi homeni da ben. 

And yet Titian, who showed himself such a firm 
friend, is sometimes charged with jealousy of his rivals 
and even of his own pupils, — of Tintoretto, for ex- 
ample, whom he is said to have dismissed from his 
studio, and of his own brother Francesco, who, al- 
though he possessed a lively imagination and a skilful 
hand as a draughtsman, nevertheless gave himself up to 
trade on the advice of his brother, who feared to see a 
rival in the family. It is quite true that Titian avoided 
teaching if he could help it, but that was because of the 
wearisomeness of the task ; we cannot suppose that 
the master whose position was so secure could possibly 
have been influenced by jealousy. Nay, it is said that 
one day, on meeting Veronese in the piazza di San 
Marco, he openly declared that in him he greeted "the 
glory of painting," and again in i53o, when looking 
at the Gorreggios in the church of the Benedictines at 
Parma, he exclaimed: "Oh! ringraziato il Cielo, che 
finalmente ho trovato un pittore ! " He admired Tin- 
toretto's imagination and Previtali's power of expres- 
sion ; he appreciated Lotto's judgment, and regarded 
Moroni as an incomparable portrait-painter ; he praised 
Jacopo da Ponte for his animals and was a close friend 
of Palma. 1 Aretino never says that Titian was chary 
in recognising the work and the genius of others, but 
he inveighs against those who were jealous of his friend ; 
and yet the unscrupulous backbiter never failed to give a 
rough lick of his tongue to any little weaknesses in his 
companions ; writing in i545, he accuses Titian of ava- 
riciousness, non dando cur a o obbligo che si habbia con 
amico, ne a dovere che si convenga a parente. 2 This, in 
truth, was the real defect which sullied the noble spirit 
of Titian, and as the result on his conduct resembled 

1 Cadorin, op. cit., p. 16. 
8 Aretino, Letter e, III, 288. 


closely the effect that would have been produced by 
envy, perhaps the one was mistaken for the other. 

The broker's post in the Exchange was the chief 
cause of the quarrel between Titian and Zorzi of 
Gastelfranco, both of whom had supporters even in the 
Doge's private chamber. In i5i6, on the death of 
Giovanni Bellini, Titian received the sinecure. But on 
June a3, i537, it was taken from him by the Council 
of Ten, because he would not finish the picture of the 
Battle of Spoleto for the Ducal Palace, though he was 
continually accepting commissions from foreign princes. 
The Ten further proposed to give the commission for 
the picture to follow Titian's on the wall, to his bit- 
terest rival, Pordenone. The aversion felt by Paris 
Bordon for Titian, though less violent and not so 
explicit, was hardly less profound. Bordon received 
his early training in Titian's studio. •• Ma non vi con- 
sumo molti anni," says Vasari, "perciocche vedendo 
quell' uomo non essere molto vago d'insegnare ai suoi 
giovani, anche pregato da loro sommamente ed invitato 
con la pazienza a portarsi bene, si risolve a partirsi." 
But the master, besides neglecting his pupil, did him a 
still worse turn when he was barely nineteen years of 
age ; for Titian, in his greed of gain, filched from Bor- 
don a commission for a picture in the church of San 
Niccolo of the Minorites. Titian's correspondence 
with Duke Federico Gonzaga proves how sharply he 
looked after his own interests. In April, i533, he asks 
the Duke to induce the friars of San Benedetto, in 
Polirone, to cede to him trentatre campi di terra nel 
territorio di Treviso, which would be a good investment 
for li scudi guadagnati con VImperatore Carlo V, ac- 
ciocche non vadano in malhora. But the friars asked 
too high a price, and the artist, in a temper, ended 
by calling them poltroni. 1 We have a still graver 

1 Bragbirolli, Tiziano alia Corte del Gonzaga, p. i5 (extract from the 
Atti • Mem. dell' Ace. Virgiliana. Mantova, 1881). 


demonstration of Titian's avaricious temper in a letter, 
dated June 21, i54o,, written by Benedetto Agnella, 
Mantuan ambassador in Venice. Titian had painted the 
portrait of Catherine of Austria, wife of Francesco, 
Duke of Mantua. Agnella one day met the artist, who 
asked if the picture had reached its destination. " Ed 
io," writes Agnella, " dicendogli di si, mi domandb se 
gli era stato mandato a donar cosa alcuna, et rispon- 
dendogli di no, egli soggiunse che non si poteva per- 
suadere che Sua Ex. non fosse per fargli un presente 
conveniente a la grandezza sua et al merito dell 'opera et 
che quando facesse altrimenti sara sforzato a dir peggio 
dell'Aretino! " x It is sad to think that Titian, in order 
to hasten a payment which was quite secure, should 
have stooped to threaten calumnies more scurrilous 
than Aretino's. 

We must, however, admit that, on the whole, avarice 
is a vice rare among artists, above all, at this period. 
Veronese was content with modest sums, while Tin- 
toretto was so indifferent to gain that if a patron 
complained of his charge he would sometimes make a 
free gift of the work. 3 Alessandro Vittoria proved 
himself the prompt and kindly benefactor of Andrea 
Schiavone, whose grinding poverty reduced him to 
painting landscapes, foliage, grotesques and other orna- 
mentation on wedding coffers. '* Ebbe contrarissima 

1 Luzio, Spigolature tizianesche (in the Arch. Stor. dell' Arte, Anno III, 
1890, p. 310). 

2 In the Sommario delle spese fatte nella fabbrica della veneranda scoTaAi 
san Rocco, an extract from the Libri maestri della Scuola (i 5 17-1 563), runs 
thus: Per contadi al Tintoretto, pittor, per sue mercedi di tutti li quadri, 
triangoli, ed altre pitture fatte in detto sofitado, d'accordo Di. ti V. ti 
200. Quoted by Selvatico, Storia dell'arte del dis., II, 566. Venezia, 
1 856. For the great picture of the Crucifixion Tintoretto received only 
ducati dusento et cinquanta quali sono per inlegro pagamento, as the artist 
himself acknowledges in the receipt. (Nicoletti, Ch. e Sc. di S. Rocco, 
p. 36. Venezia, i885.) The magnificent "Christ before Pilate," and its 
companion "Christ on the Way to Golgotha," brought the artist i3i.4 
ducats. As to the tansa, or annual stipend voted for the master, it 
amounted to 100 ducats, but Tintoretto was obliged to furnish three 
pictures a year. 


sempre la sorte," says Ridolfi, " ne conobbe giammai 
cura cortese dall' inimica sua fortuna e appena pote da' 
suoi degni e virtuosi sudori trarre il necessario alimento 
della vita." It is not easy to understand how Andrea 
Meldola, whose artistic merits were so highly appre- 
ciated that Tintoretto advised every painter to keep a 
picture by him in his studio as a valuable lesson in 
colour, found it difficult to procure the bare neces- 
sities of life, especially when we remember that a 
whole troop of sculptors, painters, architects, engravers, 
wood-carvers flocked to Venice to study, practised their 
art, lived there for long, and easily earned a competence. 
If the famous miniaturist Giulio Glovio, born in 
Croatia in 1490, met with a munificent patron at 
Venice in the person of Cardinal Grimani, is not the Re- 
public to blame for her lack of generosity towards this 
son of Dalmatia, — Venetian territory, which numbered 
among its illustrious progeny Laurana and Domenico 
of Capodistria, both architects, the sculptor Giovanni 
called il Dalmata, and the medallist Paolo of Ragusa ? 
Many Dalmatians and Sclavs of a fame far inferior to 
Meldola' s lived at ease in Venice before and after his 
day. We have early records of Dalmatian artificers, 
mostly miniaturists ; for example, the painters Niccolo 
of Zara, Zuccato and Francesco de Domenicis, wardens 
of the Scuola degli Schiavoni, Stefano Cernotto, au- 
thor of two pictures in the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, 
Matteo Ponzone, all famous in their day; 1 also the 

1 Mariegola della Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Arch, di Stato, 
Prov. di Gommun. Reg. P. Sest. di Castello, I, 179. We cannot affirm 
that the Zuccato, warden of the Dalmatian Guild, is the same as the 
Sehastiano Zuccato, author of a poor picture now in the Museo Givico, and 
thought, but without sufficient reason, to have been Titian's first master 
in Venice. But as we are not sure of Sebastiano's birthplace, some 
making him a native of the Valtellina, others of Treviso, new docu- 
ments may prove that the reputed early master of Titian was really a 
Dalmatian. The other warden, Francesco de Dominicis, was a miniaturist ; 
he had a shop at San Giuliano at the sign of the ** Tempo." He was a 
relation of Stefano Cernotto of Arbe, another Dalmatian artist, who 


brothers Francesco and Gregorio Miroseo, sons of 
Luca of Sebenico, who lived in the parish of Santa 
Sofia. The wills of these two brothers are highly 
interesting, and throw much light on the lives of 
these Dalmatian folk, who were continually exposed to 
attack by the Turk and found refuge in their beloved 
Venice. Francesco, by his last testament, dated August 
17, I535, 1 appoints his carissima consorte Julia his 
universal heir, makes bequests to his brother Gregorio 
and to his niece, and leaves to his lavorante e compare 
Thodaro la sua capa niova el tulle le cose che aspettano 
ala arte di pictura exceptuando li dlsegni vendareschi. 
For the purpose of selecting, valuing, and selling these 
drawings, the testator appoints one of the witnesses to 
the will, Sebastiano Serlio, the famous architect, who 
lived for some time in Venice and in Dalmatia, where 
he made many friends. The will of the miniaturist 
Gregorio Miroseo, is even more valuable. 2 It is dated 
July a5, i539 ; the testator declares that he is a 
member of the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, 
and desires to be buried in the Confraternity's tomb in 
San Giovanni del Tempio. He bequeaths his modest 
possessions to his wife Urania, and to Gasparo and 
Felicita, two natural children, but, as he declares, 
siano come siano li voglio come legitimi quali amo cordi- 
almente come e il dovere. He laments that he has not 
been able to discharge all the trusts left to him by his 
father and his brothers in favour of other relations, as 
the family property in Dalmatia had suffered severely 
per le ruine che sono seguite per li perfidi Turchi. 

As a proof of the generous hospitality which artificers 

died before i543. Matteo Ponzone painted for the Scuola of the Dalma- 
tians a Saint George on horseback, which used to be over the altar of the 
Dalmatians in San Giovanni del Tempio. The picture is now at the 
Madonna dell'Orto. 

1 Arch, di Stato, Sezione notarile, Atti not. Bianco Carlo, Busta 79, 
No. 397. 

2 Ibid., Atti not. Marino Bondio, Busta 64a, No. i65. 


of every country enjoyed in Venice we may take the 
case of the Bergamasques. They formed a numerous 
colony in the city, and became Venetians by right 
of that citizenship which time, habits, family connec- 
tions, and friendship create. When Bergamo came 
under the dominion of the Republic (1427), many Ber- 
gamasques emigrated to Venice, where for the most 
part they took up their abode in the parishes of San 
Cassiano, Santa Maria Mater Domini, and San Boldo. 
They were a hard-working people of lively intelligence. 
Some became glass-blowers and silk-weavers (veluderi, 
samiteri, lanieri) ; others took to humbler callings, and 
became porters, or pedlers who went the round of the 
fairs with their boxes slung from their necks, selling 
cordelle ed aghi, needles and thread. One of these Ber- 
gamasque pedlers was the ancestor of that charming 
painter Andrea Previtali, who took his surname of 
Cordegliaghi 1 from the pedler's calling, a custom com- 
mon to the Bergamasques, for it was their habit to 

1 Critics are not agreed on the subject of Previtali's name. Some, like 
Cavalcaselle, believe that Cordegliaghi is a nickname ; others, like Giovanni 
Morelli, reject this opinion, arguing that this name, which is essentially 
Venetian in form, could not have been given to a native of Bergamo, where 
cordelle and aghi are called nistole and gogie. They accordingly have supposed 
the existence of two masters, — one called Previtali, the other Cordegliaghi. 
But such arguments fall to the ground before documents and the exam- 
ination of the Previtali genealogy, which is complicated. The family came 
from the Valle dTmagna, and many of them settled in the territory of Isola, 
between the Adda and the Brembo. Ludwig is inclined on various 
grounds to conclude that a branch settled in the village of Brembate, and 
took the surname of Cordegliaghi because one of their ancestors had 
visited the fairs of the Veneto selling Cordelle ed aghi. In fact, in the 
National Gallery in London there is a picture signed Andrea Cordelle agi, 
followed by a paleographical symbol signifying twenty-four years of age. 
The picture belongs to the year i5o4, so that this Andrea would have 
been born in i48o, precisely the year of Andrea Previtali's birth. Thus 
we have identity of name and age, and we may add of style, if we compare 
the Cordegliaghi paintings with those of Previtali. It is certain that 
Previtali signed himself in various ways. At Venice, in order to distinguish 
himself from the sculptor Andrea da Bergamo, he assumed the surname 
of his family Cordegliaghi. At Ceneda, where he painted the splendid 
"Annunciation," Titian's favourite picture, he signed Andrea Bergomensis. 
At Bergamo he employs the name known and honoured by all, Andreas 
yoL. 1. — 13 


repeat the same Christian names from generation to 
generation, and therefore they were obliged, for pur- 
poses of identification, to adopt nicknames, which they 
usually took from their professions. In Venice we find 
many Bergamasques who dedicated themselves to the 
nobler arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting. 
The architects and sculptors came for the most part 
from the Valle del Serio, the painters from the Val 
Brembana. With the exception of Previtali, the ma- 
jority of Bergamasques who left their native hills to 
settle in Venice made new homes for themselves, lived 
together in friendly intercourse, taught their young 
compatriots, employed Bergamasque notaries for their 
affairs, and chose the shops of Bergamasques for the 
conduct of their business. Their thoughts and their 
affections were ever turned to their distant home, and 
thither they sent back the products of their genius in 
paintings which still adorn so many churches of the Ber- 
gamasco. 1 Although bred in Venetian workshops, they 
never lost their native simplicity ; nor is it possible to 
confound their work with the paintings of the true Vene- 
tian school, for they all display a family likeness and 
preserve certain qualities peculiar to the hardy mountain 
race. Their imagination is not fiery, nor their ideas 
profound, but they possess great technical skill, bril- 
liancy of colour, a rustic na'ivetd of composition, breath- 
ing the spirit of their native valleys filled with running 
waters and their mountains crowned with solitary little 

Previtalus, accompanied sometimes by a monogram, as in the case of the 
picture in the church of the Santo Spirito at Venice. See Ludwig, Gli 
artisti bergamaschi in Venezia. In this monograph Ludwig throws fresh 
light on the following Bergamasque artists : Francesco di Simone da 
Santa Croce, Francesco Rizzo da Santa Croce, Zuanne di Vecchi called 
di Galizi, Girolamo, Francesco, and Pietro Paolo da Santa Croce, Alvise 
Donato, Giovanni di Giovanni Busi called Gariani, Prete Vito Celere, 
Licinio da Lodi, Rigo, Fabio Giulio and Bernardino Licinio, Andrea 
Previtali, Antonio Boselli, Palma Vecchio, Alvise di Scraiin and Ales- 
sandro Oliverio, Giacomo detto Pistoia, etc. 
1 Ludwig, loc. cit. 


churches in green meadows where the flocks are at pas- 
ture. " The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel" by Palma 
Vecchio may serve as a pleasing example of their style. 
Newly discovered documents and recent research have 
destroyed many errors about the painters of Bergamo. 
For instance, it used to be thought that Rizzo was the 
name of the family of painters known as Santa Croce ; 
but the oldest of these Santa Croce, Francesco di 
Simone, was not the father, nor yet a relation, of the 
painter Rizzo, but merely the master of Francesco 
Rizzo de Vecchis da Santa Croce, known in history as 
Francesco Rizzo da Santa Croce. 1 Nor is it any longer 
certain that between i48o and 1490 the vigorous 
painter, Giovanni Busi, called Cariani, 2 was born at 
Fuipiano in Val Brembana ; it is more probable that 
he saw the light in Venice. 3 

1 The family of Santa Croce never bore the name Rizzo. Ludwig has 
shown that the painter who signs himself Franciscus Rizus is not, as has 
been believed, Francesco di Simone, but only a pupil of his, called Fran- 
cesco de Vecchis, nicknamed Gallizi, or Rizzo, son of Bernardino. On July 
3i, 1492, Francesco di Simone wedded la honestissima Madona Lucia 
Trevisan Jiola che fo del quondam ser Alvise et sorella del prudente homo ser 
Vetor Trevisan coltrer del confin de san Pantalon. On October 28, i5o8, 
the painter made his will, and among his bequests to the Scuola della 
Misericordia in the village of Santa Croce and many other dispositions we 
find this legacy to a pupil : Item lego Francisco Ritio filio ser Bernardi q m 
ser Johannis de Vechis de Sancta Croce penellos, lapides super quibus teruntur 
colores, designia et omnia alia instrumenta artis picture, etc. Of this Fran- 
cesco de Vecchis, native of Bergamo, of the surname Rizzo, we have a 
picture signed by him and dated i5i3 (it is in the Academy at Venice and 
represents the Resurrection), and in the parish church of Serinalta the 
fragments of an Ancona of i5i8, the contract for which was published by 
the engineer Elia Fornoni. 

2 Morelli, Delia pitt. ital., p. 247. 

* Cariani's father came from Fuipiano. His name was Giovanni, and 
he was preco et ministerialis Curiae Palatii, that is to say, comandador del 
Magistrato del Proprio. He held this office as early as i5io, and he must 
at that date have already been some years in Venice, for so important an 
office would not be given to a young stranger who had just arrived in the 
lagoons. The documents of the Archives of Fuipiano which mention Gio- 
vanni Cariani del q m Giovanni, supposed to refer to the painter, must refer to 
the painter's father, Giovanni quondam ser Johannis de Busis. Grandfather, 
father, and son had all the same name, as was the habit among the Berga- 
mascnies. The first positive mention we have of the painter is in the will of 


We have already observed that many critics have 
held that Bernardino Licinio, the painter, came from 
Friuli, in spite of the fact that as early as 1677 Dona to 
Galvi, a Bergamasque writer, had claimed him for 
Bergamo. 1 The Licinio of Postcantii, now Poscante, 
were a large clan, and some of them emigrated from 
their mountains to the neighbouring cities of the plain, 
Lodi, Casalmaggiore, Cremona, and so on, and in 
larger numbers still to Venice, where they became 
cloth-merchants or weavers or glass-blowers. The 
Licinio owned three large furnaces at Murano at the 
signs of the Pigna aurea, the Cappello, and the Dra- 
gone ; while many of the same name were employed in 
other furnaces, in Beroviero's famous workshop, for 
example. Some made a fortune and were enrolled in 
the Libro d'oro of Murano ; they spent their well- 
earned gains in charity and on works of art. We have, 
for example, Tomaso Licinio, the owner of the shop 
at the sign of the Dragone, who commissioned Car- 
paccio to paint for the church of San Pietro Martire in 
Murano the beautiful altar-piece which now adorns the 
Museum of Stuttgart, where Licinio's little son is 

his wife, Joanna Natal, sister of the Bergamasque Alvise, notary and priest 
in the church of San Boldo. The will is dated i5i7; the testatrix, hefore 
setting out for a journey to Bergamo, makes her testament in which an 
adopted daughter Adriana is mentioned. If they had already adopted a child, 
it is probable that the couple had lost all hopes of offspring, which implies 
that they had been married some years. The artist was probably born in 
Venice ; he is never called di Fuipiano, whereas his father, the coman- 
dador, even though in Venetian service, never omits to call himself da 
Fuipiano. It is certain that Cariani passed his infancy in Venice, and 
went but rarely to Bergamo, nor did he stay there ; he was already Vene- 
tian in art and in ideas before Palma il Vecchio reached Venice from 
Serinalta. In i5i7 Cariani was one of the governing body of the Scuola 
dei Pittori. In the Venetian documents Giovanni Busi is not only called 
Cariani, but also Zuanne de ser Juannin comandador, the style by which he 
appears in Morelli's Anomino and as he signs himself (del fa Zanin co- 
mandador) in 1 544, eight years after the death of his father. Ludwig, 
op. cit. 

1 Calvi P. Donato, Effemeride sacro-profana di quanto di memorabile sia 
suecesso in Bergamo, III, 3o8. Milano, 1677. 


represented kneeling before Saint Thomas Aquinas. 
The branch of the Licinio family which became 
painters and settled in Venice, descended from Antonio, 
whose eldest son, Arrigo, is called a painter in public 
documents as early as i5i2. We know that Arrigo 
had a large family, but no traces of his paintings 
remain. We must conclude that he worked along 
with his more famous brother, Bernardino, of whom 
we have mention for the first time in 1 5 1 1 and for the 
last in i549- Bernardino must have remained a 
bachelor ; no document ever hints that he had a wife 
and family, and it is certainly not his, but his brother 
Arrigo' s family, 1 which is represented in the well- 
known picture of the Borghese Gallery, where Bernar- 
dino has written this inscription : 



Bernardino also painted Agnese, the wife of his 
brother, in a picture now in the Prado at Madrid. In 
the Borghese picture Arrigo, then about forty-eight 
and his wife thirty-six, are represented surrounded by 
seven children, among whom we can recognise Fabio, 
who became a goldsmith and printer (he holds in his 
hands a little model of the torso of the Belvedere) ; 
and Gamilio, a thoughtful-looking boy, standing on his 
mother's right, who grew up to be a famous physician, 
and Giulio, a little lad with his cap full of roses, who 
will one day paint Ferdinand of Austria. 2 The remain- 
ing four probably died young. 

1 It is strange that, from Scannelli (Microcosmo delta pittura, i65 r ]) to 
Venturi (Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, i8p,3), everybody has said that 
the picture represents Bernardino's family, when the inscription distinctly 
declares that the subject is his brother's family. 

3 The Albertina at Vienna has three engravings of Fabio Licinio. At 
Gratz there are several pictures by Giulio — the Imperial painter — the 
frescoes on a house at Augsburg, a picture in the church of Lonno in the 
Bergamasco, and part of the ceiling of the Library of San Marco. 


Of all the Bergamasque painters in Venice, Jacopo 
Palma il Vecchio achieved the highest distinction. He 
was a man of a sweet and gentle disposition and abso- 
lutely free from jealousy. Born in i£8o, at Serinalta, 
in the Bergamasco, his family name was Negretti. 1 Io 
Jacomo de Ant. Negreti depentor, he signs himself as 
witness to the will of Sofia, wife of the Bergamasque 
Rocco Dossena, telarol, dated January 8, i5io. In 
another document of January 8, i5i3, he signs Io 
Jacomo Palma depentor. In i5io, then, he does not 
call himself Palma ; but his reason for assuming that 
name is certainly not, as has been supposed, any in- 
tention to refer to the symbolical Palma of Victory. 
Nicknames were of common occurrence among the 
Bergamasques, and we find one of Jacomo's com- 
patriots, Giovanni Antonio Panizzolo of Zogno, also 
calling himself Palma in i536. 

In Venice Palma lodged first at San Stae before he 
moved to San Basso. From his declaration of prop- 
erty (i523) we gather that he possessed an estate at 
Montagnana. Shortly before i524 his brother Barto- 
lomeo died, and Palma returned to his beloved village 
of Serinalta, which he has represented in his picture of 
" Jacob and Rachel," to put the family affairs in order 
and to take care of his orphaned nephews, to whom he 
behaved as a father, himself remaining a bachelor all his 
life. Thus the story, believed by Boschini and others, 
that the beautiful Flora, beloved and painted by Titian, 
was Palma's daughter, falls to the ground ; and Palma 
himself painted the same splendid model under the 
name of Violante. If it be urged that Palma, though 
a deeply religious man, may have had illegitimate 
children, we are at a loss to explain why he makes 
no mention of them in his will by which he benefited 
his other relatives so generously. Palma was by no 
means averse to pleasant company, and his winning 

1 Fornoni, Notizie biografiche su Palma Vecchio. Bergamo, 1886. 


manners procured him the friendship of the procurator 
Francesco Priuli, whose guest he was in town and 
country. His passionate devotion to art led him to 
embrace all artists as brothers. It is not true that, as 
some have believed, he was ever a rival of Titian in the 
competition for the picture of Peter Martyr ; as a 
matter of fact, Palma was one of the members of the 
guild dedicated to that saint, who in i5a5 petitioned 
the Council of Ten for leave to increase the sum sub- 
scribed for the picture in order to secure the services 
of one of the foremost painters of the day. 1 The com- 
mission was given to Titian, who painted the master- 
piece destroyed by the fire of 1867. 

In 1 5a 2 it is said that Jacopo was struck down by 
the malady that gradually led him to the grave in i528, 
but we can hardly believe that the illness lasted so 
many years. 2 By his will of i528 Palma appointed 
as his trustees three persons of humble position, the 
wine-merchant Marco, called Bayetto di Passagiis dal 
Payer, a village near Serinalta, Zuan de Lavalle, a 

1 Giomo, San Pietro Martire e Tiziano (in the Nuovo Arch. Veneto, new 
series, T. VI, Part I, p. 58). It is to be observed that it was not the 
governing body (Banco) of the guild who gave the [commission. Palma 
and other members of the governing body, in their private capacity, had 
asked leave to pay for the picture, which was to be placed in the church of 
SS. Giovanni e Paolo. The Chiefs of the Ten granted permission on 
November 3o, i5a5, but that was cancelled two months later. It was the 
warden Giacomo da Pergo who gave the work to Titian a little later, and 
the artist had to take his employer to court in order to recover his fee. 

2 On April 21, i5a8, about three months before his death at the age 
of forty-eight, Palma went to the house of Hieronima, widow of Cristoforo 
Bando, to witness her will. On July 28 of the same year the painter 
summoned to his new house at San Basso Alvise Natal, brother-in-law of 
Cariani, notary and priest of San Boldo, in order to dictate his will. Two 
days later, he died, as we learn from the necrology of the Scuola di San 
Marco ; his niece Margherita, who, as soon as she was grown up, had been 
brought to Venice to take charge of the house of her bachelor uncle, tended 
him lovingly to the end. From Palma's papers we learn that Zuane the 
physician received three crowns per el medegar de ser Giacomo and then a 
ducat more to be in attendance de di et de note a governor ser Jacopo. 
Other payments were made to Francesco Corona for nursing the painter 
for seventeen days. All this would lead us to conclude that Palma's 
illness was acute, not chronic. Ludwig, op. cit. 


fruiterer, and Fantin Tiraboschi, dyer, all of them 
relations of the testator. In the generosity of his heart 
he left legacies to the children of his brother Bartolo- 
meo, and to other poor relations of the Negretti family 
in Serinalta. The inventory made after his death 
contains the following items among the modest outfit 
of his niece Margherita : "7 fazoleti per uso di 
Margarita . . . 1 cadenela d'oro con una croseta per 
uso di Margarita — 1 veste de sarza verde facta roana 
per uso de Margarita . . . una scufia strica d'oro per 
Margarita." Among the unfinished pictures, about 
forty in all, left by Palma, we find 1 retrado de messer 
Francesco Quirini de circa quarte 3 ; it is now in the 
Quirini-Stampalia Gallery. Quirini, on the occasion 
of his marriage with Paola Priuli on April 3o, i5a8, 
commissioned Palma to paint the bride ; the portrait is 
thus described in the inventory : il qaaro de una dona 
relrata con fornimenti de nogera . . . con maneghe de 
raso zalo. This is probably the sketch, now in the 
same gallery ; it represents a young woman in a robe 
of a rich brown pattern with sleeves of yellow satin, 
in all likelihood Paolo Priuli, the wife of Quirini. 

Careful search among old papers has thrown light on 
the technique and the apparatus of these artists' studios. 
Lotto employed lay figures, modelletti di leg no die si sno- 
dano, which he bought from a Venetian wood-carver ; 
rilievi de iesso el di cerra, engravings, a few cameos, 
a small amount of lapis lazuli in polvere da afinarli per 
cavarne lo azuro, colours, varnish, oil, glue, lacquer, 
gum mastic, 1 turpentine, resin, and a mortar de marmo 

1 Here is Sansovino's receipt, per far cerra da lavorar de rilevo che non 
attacha et morbida : 


. lbs. 10 



Sevo . . 

• " — X 


" — onze 1^ 

et fa bulir inseme, et getta sul fondo del sechier bagnato : che non 
attachara et rcsta sotile da posser manegiar." 


Jlno alquanto incavata for grinding colours with its 
pestle (macinello) of Istrian stone. Lotto's notebook 
also gives us some idea of the prices paid for models. 
He paid old beggarmen eight soldi to sit to him for his 
saints ; nude female models cost more, and the painter 

"retrar femine nude .... lire 3, s. 10 
per spogliar femina nuda solo veder . — s. i a " i 

In their private papers, and more especially in their 
wills, we see the homely habits of these masters who, 
with some few exceptions, were good, gentle, and 
modest men. 

At this period of Venetian history the ancient guild 
of painters appears to us as it were a united family. 
Vincenzo Catena in his will, dated April i5, i53o, 
besides various legacies and charities in favour of the 
poorer members of the guild, left a sum of money to 
build the Scuola dei Pittori under the protection of San 
Luca. The guild used to meet in the church of San 
Luca, and the new guild hall was built in the Galle 
Sporca at Santa Sofia. Its facade bore a stone slab, 
now in the Seminary, with the image of the Evangelist 
and his bull, and this inscription : 


The Mariegola of i£36 is little more than a rough 
translation into the vulgar tongue of the rude Latin in 
the ancient charter book of 1271-181 1. 2 The bald 
language of these early statutes in spite of their uncouth 

1 Test, and Libro de conti del Lotto. 

2 The Mariegola of i436 exists in some few fragments (Arch, di Stato, 
Arti, Dipintori, Busta I), published per nozze (Emporio, i884). A Marie- 
gola of May 1, 1676, with additions down to August 8, 1782, is now in 
the Museo Civico. The art embraced the following branches : 1. Dipintori; 
2. Dordtori; 3. Miniatori; 4- Disegnatori and ricamatori for stuffs ; 5. Fab- 
bricatori di cuori d'oro; 6. Cartolai (playing-card makers) ; 7. Maschereri; 
8. Targheri. 


form shows us a strong and direct feeling for the corpo- 
rate spirit, and shrewd common sense is manifest in 
certain provisions ; for example, the one which forbids 
any member ' ■ de tuor et far alcun lavorerio che altri 
maestri havessero tolto a far sopra de se." 

And so, in this age, which was rapidly changing 
under contact with the outer world, and owing to the 
general decay of national manners and customs, we 
still find traces of that excellent race of artists who had 
already grown old-fashioned and out of date. Art in 
its finer manifestations springs from the humble work- 
shops of artificers, of the men who decorated coffers, 
chairs, church furniture, bucklers, banners, standards, 
hangings for houses. Lazzaro Bastiani, of whom we 
have the earliest mention in i44q and who died in 
i5i2, gathered round him a band of unknown handi- 
craftsmen, mostly bound to him by ties of blood, 
like his elder brother Marco, the curtain-painter 
(collrer, cortiner), his sons Vincenzo, Sebastian, and 
Giovanni, his nephews Alvise and Cristoforo, all 
dedicated to the same humble calling of industrial 
artisans. 1 Nor did the more celebrated painters disdain 
to associate with their humbler brethren, and they 
would sometimes exhibit their works to the public in 
the shops of the cofferers and furniture-makers at San 
Marco or along the Merceria. At guild meetings the 
greatest masters would find themselves seated side by 
side with simple gilders and makers of playing-cards, 
and all were called without distinction Fratelli. Sebas- 
tiano Zuccato, Vittore Belliniano, Rocco Marconi, and 
Domenico Tintoretto would have, as colleagues on the 
governing body of the guild, Master Domenico Draghia, 
the cofFerer, or Master Piero di San Basso, curtain- 
painter. Nor would Titian da Cador depenlor nor 
Bordon Paris figurer refuse to act with a common 
house-painter. Piero Lombardo, the great sculptor, 

1 Ludwig and Molmenti, Carpaccio, Doc. to Chap. I. 


gladly mixed with ordinary stone-masons and stone- 
cutters and acted as warden of their guild. 

Such simple habits and such freedom of intercourse 
did not prevent strict discipline among the members, 
while it helped to bring out individual character ; 
but both disappeared with the decline of civic power, 
and in the seventeenth century the painters insisted on 
separating themselves from the gilders and decorators 
and such common folk, and, despising the good old 
name of Arte for their guild, they adopted the high- 
sounding title of Collegio ; the sculptors followed suit 
in the same century, and separating themselves from 
the stone-masons erected a College of Sculptors. 1 

1 Sagredo, Sulle consorterie delle Arti edificative, pp. 90, g4. 



THERE is no need to insist upon the close connec- 
tion between the public and private life of a people 
and its letters, science, arts, its intellectual 
activity ; and if our object be to examine every de- 
partment of Venetian life, we must perforce turn our 
attention to her development in science and letters. 

In Venice, as elsewhere, the fruitful movement of 
the Renaissance, which reawoke the antique sense of 
beauty and the classical interpretation of life, poured 
a flood of light on the meaning of manuscripts and 
marbles. It is true that the Italian spirit had never 
entirely lost touch, even in remote times, with ancient 
Greco-Latin culture ; the rough rind of the Middle Ages 
enclosed the flower of the pagan Renaissance ; but 
when that flower blossomed in all its wealth of colour 
and of perfume, the minds of men received a new bent. 
During the Middle Ages Aristotle had reigned supreme 
in science. Knowledge was moulded on the subtle 
and captious rules of Averroes and the schoolmen. 
But by the middle of the Quattrocento Neoplatonism, 
thanks to the influence of Gemistos Plethon, Theodore 
Gaza, Bessarion, and other Greeks, began to challenge 
the Aristotelian doctrine. The fact is a notable one, 
which exercised a far-reaching influence not only on 
the course of study, but upon the direction of civil 
life as well ; for while Aristotle taught that commerce 
was the backbone of States, Plato, on the other hand, 


forbade the rulers of his ideal Republic to embark on 
trade. These new ideas slowly found their way into 
the scheme of Venetian education, and gradually caused 
the nobility to withdraw from commerce ; they ceased 
to frequent Rialto, and abandoned their ancient privilege 
of sending their sons on board the State galleys to learn 
the double business of trade and navigation ; they no 
longer turned their ground-floors into warehouses ; if 
they went to sea, they went as captains not as mer- 
chants, and though they did not abandon commerce 
entirely, they still preferred more refined pursuits, the 
pleasures of a more delicate intelligence, the delights of 
letters and of art, which are usually the adornments 
of a people in repose. 

We must, however, admit that the Venetians did not 
allow themselves to be too easily caught by the seduc- 
tions of a literature which under sonorous phrases hid 
a poverty of ideas, nor by the blandishments of arti- 
ficial verse ; and if the flood of Petrarchism flowed 
deeper here than elsewhere, still the sense of freedom 
and of political life kept vigorous the mind of the 
nation, in which the passion of battle and the zeal of 
traffic were not yet dead. The Venetians were the least 
rhetorical people in the world ; they cared more for facts 
than for phrases, and held that literature was worthy of 
loving study, it is true, but was not the sole end of life. 

The spirit of enterprise to which Venice owed her 
glory had died down, but was not yet entirely extinct ; 
she had not yet completely renounced those severer 
studies which go to strengthen the mind. If the 
discovery of new continents had dealt a deadly blow to 
Venetian commerce and wrought the ruin of private 
fortunes, exploration was not entirely abandoned to the 
foreigner, and John Cabot, the great English seaman, 
but a Venetian citizen by decree and by choice, 1 sailed 

1 Harrisse, Jean et Sibastien Cabot. Paris, 1881. See too Marinelli's 
researches cited in Chapter V. 


for North America a year before Columbus set foot 
on American soil, and planted the banner of England 
side by side with the standard of San Marco, per esser 
lui Veneziano. 1 John Cabot's son, Sebastian, also a 
Venetian by birth, discovered Labrador in 1498, in i5a6 
explored the lower reaches of the Rio della Plata, 2 and 
so great was his fame in the shipping world that he 
was appointed piloto mayor of Spain, as was Americo 
Vespucci before him, and also chief pilot of England. 3 
In 1529 Luigi Roncinotto pushed into Further India 
and into Arabia ; while, towards the close of the 
century, Cesare Federici ( 1 563-1 58 1) and Gaspare 
Balbi (1579-1581), who furnished valuable information 
about Asia Minor and India to the west of the Ganges, 
were the first to discover Pegu. 

The name of Venice was known and respected in 
India ; the gold coinage of San Marco was valued in 
Arabia ; Vasco di Gama found the Venetian ducat at 
Calicut, and Cooper, the Englishman, declared that from 
the Mediterranean to China the sequin was the only 
coin in common currency. 4 In many parts of Asia the 
Venetians left behind them the ordinary terms of trade, 
such as peso, rotolo, caniara, oncia ; and the nautical 
language of various countries, England among others, 
still retains traces of the phraseology employed by the 

1 Sanudo (Diari, I, 807) quotes from a London letter dated August a3, 
1^97, and records the welcome given by the English to the Venetian 
traveller : " E con so mojer Veniziana e con so fioi a Bristo [Bristol] . . . 
Juan Talbot [Cabot] e chiamasi el gran armirante, e vienli fato grando 
honor, e va vestido de seda, e sti inglexi li vano driedi a mo' pazi." 

2 Marco Foscarini, in his notes on Venetian explorers (published by 
Morpurgo in his Marco Foscarini e Venezia nel sec. XVIII), attributes the 
discovery of Florida and Newfoundland to Sebastian instead of to John 
Cabot. Foscarini is not clear about the Cabots. Much light has been 
thrown on their history by the publication of Sanudo's Diaries and by 
researches of Brown, of Harrisse, of Tarducci, Bellemo, Bullo, and others. 
The question of John Cabot's native place is still undecided ; he probably 
came from Gaeta, but was a Venetian by adoption. 

8 Uzielli and Amat di San Filippo, Mappamondi, carte naut, etc., Vol. II 
(Studi biog.). Roma, 1873. 
* Filiasi, Mcmorie, T. VI. 


mariners of the Adriatic. It was therefore possible to 
repeat, not as an empty boast, the words which 
Giosafatte Barbaro employed in 1487: " Quelli che 
hanno vista qualche particella della terra al tempo di 
adesso, per la maggior parte sono mercanti, ovvero 
uomini dati alia marinarezza; nei quali due esercizi, 
dal principio suo infino al di presente, tanto sono 
stati eccellenti i miei padri e signori veneziani, che 
credo poter dire con verita, che tengono in questa 
cosa il primato." 

These difficult and dangerous journeys were not 
always made with the intent to discover new lands, to 
foster political interests; to open up profitable markets, 
or in hope of material wealth, but occasionally in the 
abstract interests of science and of learning, — for ob- 
jects, in short, which were high and noble in their lack 
of immediate and practical utility. About the middle of 
the fifteenth century Benedetto Dandolo went to Persia in 
search of ancient coins and medals, and a century later 
Marco Bembo made a journey to Africa to study the 
ruins of Carthage ; he then crossed Numidia and passed 
over to Spain to collect inscriptions in the ancient 
Sagunto. Pellegrino Brocardi, in i557, traversed 
Lower Egypt for no other purpose than to find antiqui- 
ties and to measure the Pyramids, as Marco Grimani, 
Patriarch of Aquileia, had done twenty years earlier. 

The logs of these bold seamen, descriptions of 
voyages at all seasons and in all countries, translations 
of ancient writers like Annone, Strabo, and Diodorus 
Siculus, memoirs on geography, navigation, astronomy, 
statistics, were all brought together in a great collection 
compiled by a famous cosmographer, Giambattista 
Ramusio, born at Treviso in i485, who died at Padua in 
1557. 1 Nor must we omit to mention the Venetians 
Domenico Maria Negri, who at the opening of the 

1 Del Plero, Della vita e degli Jtudi di G. B. Ramusio (in the Nuovo 
Archivio Veneto, IV, 75). 


sixteenth century wrote his " Commentaries" on geog- 
raphy printed at Bale in i557, and Benedetto Ramberti, 
who in i539 published a treatise on the customs and 
habits of the Turks. 

Naval architecture was always a favourite subject of 
study. Cristoforo da Canale (b. i5io, d. i56a), a brave 
soldier, after fighting the Turks, wrote his valuable 
treatise Delia milizia maritima. The work exists in 
several manuscript copies, and is composed of four 
books dealing with shipbuilding, crews, and officers ; 
and Vettor Fausto (b. i48o, d. i538), with that versa- 
tility which is peculiar to the men of the Renaissance, 
abandoned the chair of Greek eloquence for the 
arsenal, where he built his famous quinquereme, which 
commanded universal admiration. 

Map-making advanced towards perfection, and in the 
age with which we are dealing Venice issued the most 
complete maps and sailing-charts ; for example, Gra- 
zioso Benincasa of Ancona published his chart in i48o ; 
Zurla followed in i4o,o with his collection of thirty-five 
maps ; then came the mappamondo of Bernardo Silvano 
added to the Latin edition of Ptolemy (i5ii); Pietro 
Coppo's chart (i528); Benedetto Bordone's Isolario 
(i5a8); Jacopo Castaldo's four charts as an appendix 
to his edition of Ptolemy (i543) ; the Great Atlas of 
Battista Agnese (I534). 1 Beautifully clear-cut copper- 
plates of the lagoons, of the rivers, of the mainland 
districts, were produced ; notably those of Cristoforo 
Sabbadino of Chioggia, the greatest master of lagoon 
hydraulics, of Donato di Niccolb dal Cortivo, Giulio 
and Cristoforo Sorte, and of other designadori e pertega- 
dori ; and the shops of the map-makers, where such 
distinguished geographers as Forlano of Verona, Porro 
and Bordone of Padua, the Piedmontese Gastaldo, and 
the Venetians Zenoi, Camori, and Bertelli produced 

1 Lazari, Viaggiatori e Navigat. Veneziani (in Venezia e le sue Lagune, 
Vol. I, Part II. p. 381). 


their atlases, were also served by able writers, and care- 
ful editors like Marco Livio Sanudo, the Amasei, 
Moletti, and Rosacio. 1 On the other hand, the progress 
in mathematical science was small. This age, so rich 
in genius, marks a period of halt as far as Venice is 
concerned, though the Venetians, even in the Middle 
Ages, had availed themselves of every new invention 
in nautical and astronomical instruments. They were 
the first to apply trigonometry to navigation even as 
early as the fourteenth century and they introduced 
the decimal system in calculation, but they did not 
make much progress within the sphere of pure math- 
ematics. All the same one of the earliest treatises on 
mathematics was printed in i484 by the Venetian 
Pietro Borgo, and mathematical studies received a fur- 
ther impulse, thanks to another truly distinguished 
Venetian Giovanni Battista Benedetti (b. i53o, d. i5go). 
In his treatise published when he was twenty-three, 
Benedetti solves all the problems of Euclid by a single 
stretch of the compass, an ingenious exercise to which 
other famous geometricians had drawn attention. His 
other works are of greater importance. Preceding 
Galileo, 2 he discovered various primary laws, such as 
the principle of gravitation ; he turned his attention 
to centrifugal force and the equilibrium of the curved 
lever, and laid down the fundamental theorem of mo- 
mentum. 3 Benedetti was a pupil of Niccolb Tartaglia, 
who taught in Venice, lived there for many years, and 
there ended his days in 1557. Preceding the great 
Brescian, the Franciscan brother Luca Paciolo of Borgo 
San Sepolcro, Tartaglia professed mathematics and 

1 Marinelli, op. cit. 

2 Tiraboschi (VII, 776) cites the opinion of Cardinal Michelangelo 
Ricci, who says that to Galileo Benedetti apri la strada piu che ogni altro, 
e forse fu solo a lui scorta nel suo jilosofare. Libri (Hist., Ill, 161, n. 2) 
confirms this opinion: " c'est surtout dans Benedetti que Galilei a du 
puiser les Elements de la m^canique." 

* Libri, III, iai et seq. 
vol. 1. — 14 


published several works in Venice. In I^^^ he dedicated 
his Geometria Aritmetica, issued by Paganino de' Pa- 
ganini, to the patrician Marco Sanudo, in Arithmetica 
eminentissimus, in Geometria excellentissimus , and who 
had constructed a most ingenious celestial globe in 
metal. The Cremonese Daniello Gaetani sent the 
works of Euclid, corrected by Paciolo, 1 to another patri- 
cian Daniele Renier, a master in this science. Other 
Venetians who dedicated themselves to mathematics 
with success were Francesco Barozzi, professor at Padua 
about i55o, who published a treatise on asymptotes, 
or, as he says, duas lineas in eodem piano designare qux 
numquam invicem coincidant ; 2 Livio Sanudo, a sound 
cosmographer (d. 1576), and Vittore Ziliolo, a distin- 
guished mathematician (d. i584). 

The study of perspective was further advanced than 
mathematics in Venice. Its rules, based on mathe- 
matics and optics, had been laid down by Albert Diirer, 
by Piero della Francesca, and by Leon Battista Alberti ; 
the Venetian Daniele Barbaro, translator of Vitruvius, 
collected and illustrated these rules in his Pralica della 
Prospettiva, the first treatise on the subject that was 
issued from the press (i568). 

Philosophy began to show signs of transformation. 
It was seeking its true path, but had not yet found it. 
Until the experimental method came to rout the au- 
thority of tradition, we see philosophers following now 
Aristotle, now Plato. At the opening of the Cinque- 
cento Aristotle had resumed his sway, though Plato 
still exercised an influence, especially in the region 
of the emotions ; towards the close of the sixteenth 
century Plato found a translator in Dardi Bembo ; 
and if philosophers still preferred to follow the teaching 
of Aristotle, there was, at all events, an effort to free it 
from the rigid rules imposed by his Arab commentators. 

1 Agostini, Scritt. Ven., Preface, p. xlviii. 
a Libri, III, 1 34, n. 3. 


The first Italian to lecture on Aristotle from the 
Greek text and to clear away errors was the Vene- 
tian Niccolo Leonico Tomeo, born, in i/i53, of an 
Albanian father. Among the many Aristotelians in 
Venice, we may note Sebastiano Foscarini, Eugenio 
Bruto, Antonio Polo, and Fra Gioacchino della Torre, 
who applied himself to the physics rather than to the 
metaphysics of the Stagirite, and published his notes on 
the De phisica auscultatione in i485. Philosophy was 
a necessary branch of culture, and the learned never 
neglected the study of the ancients ; Giambattista Ber- 
nardo made a repertorium of them in his Seminarium 
totius philosophise. Even the abstruse teaching of 
Raymond Lullo found a patient annotator in Valerio 
Valier (b. i537, d. 1596). 

Theology and jurisprudence were assiduously studied, 
and the list of writers on points of theology and of 
canon law is a long one, including the Patriarch 
Antonio Soriano, the Bishops Antonio Pizzamano, 
Francesco Arzentin, Alvise Lippomano, Tommaso 
Stella, Marc Antonio Mocenigo, and others of even 
wider fame whom we shall come across in the course 
of this chapter. Jurisprudence received attention not 
merely from those who practised the law, but from all 
who made any pretensions whatever to culture. 

Natural science and physiology were gradually freed 
from the errors of the Middle Ages, and Ermolao 
Barbaro the younger published his Castigationes 
Plinianse and translated Dioscorides' History of Medicine 
from Greek into Latin ; the first two Italian translations 
of that work also appeared in Venice, one by Fausto da 
Longiano in i542 and the other containing copious 
notes by Pier Andrea Mattioli in i544- Medicine made 
progress through the study and the use of simples, 
and some of the nobility planted botanical gardens 
near their houses for the benefit of the learned. We 
have already noticed the progress which was made in 


therapeutics, and, as a matter of fact, Venice boasted 
physicians who in a serious scientific spirit tempered 
the teaching of the Arab school with the doctrines 
of Hippocrates and Galen ; among these we may 
mention Giovanni Caldiera, Pietro Roccabonella, who 
wrote a book on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, Nicola 
Gupalatino, Pietro Barbaro da Pola, and Antonio Zeno, 
named Policola, author of a curious work called De 
humana natura (1/491), and Giacomo Surian of Rimini 
(d. 1^99), all belonging to the fifteenth century. In 
the sixteenth we find Alessandro Benedetti ; Benedetto 
Riccio, who commented on Avicenna in i555 ; Marziale 
Rota ; Niccolb Sammicheli ; Vittore Trincavello, the 
warm supporter of the theories of Galen, and a good 
man of letters ; Benedetto and Fabrizio Rinio ; Antonio 
Secco, praticho visitaor, as Calmo calls him ; Ambrogio 
Leoni da Nola ; Girolamo Boniperto of Novara ; Fran- 
cesco Mattioli of Siena, father of Pier Andrea ; Marino 
Broccardo ; Valerio Superchio ; Girolamo Ramusio of 
Rimini, who became a Venetian citizen ; Curzio Mari- 
nello ; Attilio Quattrocchi ; Niccolb Massa, who made 
important anatomical discoveries ; Giambattista Pe- 
randa ; Gian Bernardo Regazzola ; and Prospero Alpino 
da Marostica, who Avas director of the Botanical Garden 
at Padua. Among these many scientific men we must 
find a place for one, Alvise Cornaro, who, though not 
professedly a physician, wrote a book, Vita sobria, in 
which both by precept and example he anticipated some 
principles of modern hygiene. 

Anatomical discoveries of course assisted surgery ; 
and a Venetian from Piove di Sacco, Angiolo Bolognini, 
Professor at Bologna from i5o8 to 1617, was among 
the first to write on this subject. Giovanni Andrea 
della Croce, born in Venice in 1509, who died there in 
1575, was the author of a treatise Chirurgia universale, 
and the Venetian Michelangiolo Biondo (b. 1^97, d. 
1 565) also wrote on surgery, anatomy, and medicine, 


as well as on philosophy, poetry, history, astrology. 
Thus therapeutics, though still full of prejudices and 
errors consecrated by tradition, gradually emerged from 
empiricism, thanks chiefly to the influence of Padua. 
But the spirit of the age, which craved for the striking 
and the strange, surrounded even the medical science 
with an apparatus, a pomp and mystery which in the 
seventeenth century became quite extravagant. We 
seem to see in Tomaso Giannotti Rangone, doctor and 
philologer, a type of those physicians who pursued a 
dubious path between science and charlatanism and 
announced themselves as discoverers of secret specifics. 
Rangone was born in ih()3 and died in 1677 ♦ ne pro- 
fessed to teach people how to live to a hundred and 
twenty, and to feed his vanity he left a large sum of 
money for the reconstruction of the church of San 
Giuliano in order that posterity might admire on the 
facade his effigy in bronze modelled and cast by San- 
sovino, who produced a speaking likeness of the vain- 
glorious doctor from Ravenna seated between the 
terrestrial and celestial globes. 

The observation of nature was frequently coloured 
by fancy and prejudice, and many students lost the 
true path and wandered off into the dreamland of 
astrology, alchemy, and magic. They watched the 
conjunctions of the stars that they might cast horo- 
scopes of birth and foretell the course of human life ; 
their ambiguous answers swayed the minds and actions 
of grave and intelligent men and even of the shrewdest 
rulers of the State. For example, in 1/199, prophecies 
obtained by evoking spirits were secretly read in the 
Collegio ; 1 and even after the lapse of many years the 
Serenissima Signoria gravely listened to the Cieco 
d'Adria when he declared that by help of cabalistic 
signs he had foretold the victory of Lepanto. Judicial 
astrology, which had exercised so wide an influence 

1 Sanudo, Diart, II, 482, 483. 


in the Middle Ages, came into vogue again in Venice 
of the Renaissance, and numbered among its supporters 
the Benedictine Teofilo Michiel (d. i43i); the Bishop 
Domenico Domenichi (d. 1478); Lorenzo Zane, Patri- 
arch of Antioch (d. i485) ; Giovanni Barbo, who after 
the middle of the fifteenth century engaged in a fierce 
polemic with his master Paul of Middelburg ; Fra Fran- 
cesco Zorzi (d. i54o); Doctor Giovanni Caldiera, who 
compiled the canons of astrology ; Candiano Bollani, 
author of a book on the Segni celesti ; Antonio Pelle- 
grino, who discoursed on the Segni de la natura ne 
I homo (i565), and Girolamo Diedo, who published in 
i593 a treatise on the Anatomia celeste. Astronomy 
which was not confounded with astrology, as each 
science had its own chairs in the universities, 1 was still 
restricted to the knowledge of the past ages ; it availed 
itself of the astrolabe, the quadrant, and the compass ; 
saw the creation at Padua of Dondi's clock, which 
showed the movement of the sun, the moon, and the 
planets, 2 and listened to the great German astronomer, 
Regiomontano 3 in i463. The science had few followers 
in Venice, and the dense mist which enveloped it was 
not dispersed by Andrea Priuli with his De ortu et 
occasu stellar um Jixarum, nor by other students who 
gave their attention to the celestial sphere, like Niccolo 
Daziari (i463); Bishop Girolamo Balbi, who lectured 
in the University of Padua in 1489 ; Gasparino Barbaro 
(1490), or Jacopo Gabriele, who showed a more 

1 Alidosi, Li dottori forestieri che in Bologna hanno letto, etc. Bologna, 

2 Libri, II, 320. 

8 Johann Miiller, better known as Regiomontano or Monteregio, was 
born at Unfind, near Koenigsberg, in i/|36. His master was Purbach. He 
was invited to Padua to teach astronomy. He died in Rome in 1/176. 
His astronomical works had a great vogue in Venice. One of the earliest 
books printed in Venice with woodcuts is the Calendario del Monteregio, 
published in 1476 by Erardo Ratdolt. His Epitoma in Almagestum Ptolomei 
was also printed in Venice in 1^96, with beautiful engravings, at the press 
of Flamman de Landoja, called Hertzog. 


scientific spirit in his tracts on the Sfera and on the 
orti ed occasi delle stelle (I545). 1 

Philosophers, quacks, doctors, and charlatans, all 
were eagerly busied with ovens, stills, retorts, the 
instruments of alchemy, in their search for the pan- 
acea, the elixir of life, the philosopher's stone, or for 
gold. But little by little the truth disengaged itself 
from the web of falsehood, and as astronomy drew profit 
from astrology, so chemistry found help from alchemy. 
There was one branch of chemistry, however, which 
was uncontaminated by fallacies and superstitions, 
and that was the preparation of colours for painting 
and dyeing, which were produced by processes un- 
known to, and envied by, our own days. 

It was in vain that the government endeavoured to 
restrain the extravagances of alchemy and threatened 
(i488), severe penalties for those who practised it. 
The study pursued its way in spite of prohibitions, 
and was even celebrated in Latin verse by Giovanni 
Aurelio Augurello, born at Rimini, but domiciled 
in Venice, 2 who published his Chrisopeia in i5i5. 
The greatest personages of the Republic servivano e 
favorivano the Cypriot Marco Bragadin, nicknamed 
Mamugna, or Mammon. He came to Venice on 
November 26, i5q,o, and proceeded to carry out his 
experiments with great success in the house of the 
Dandolo on the Giudecca, where he was lodged. 
Certain kings and princes envied Venice her good 
fortune in having as her guest a man who could make 
the finest gold out of quicksilver. Bragadin was induced 
to go to the court of the Duke of Bavaria ; but there 
his fraud was exposed, and he was condemned to decapi- 
tation in 1 59 1 . On the scaffold he confessed that he had 
never really known how to cavar Vanima dall'oro. 3 

1 Agostini, Scritt. Ven. cit., Preface, xlix. 

2 Pavanello, Un maestro del Quattrocento (G. A. Augurello), pp. 65 
et seq. Venezia, 1905. 

8 Cicogna, her., VI, 569, 570. 


Sometimes the good sense of the people rebelled 
against the superstition of the learned and turned to 
ridicule astrologers and conjurers. 

IN'igun no puol saver zo che sari 

l'ho ditto, el torno a dir, el diro ancora 
tutte le volte che besognera. 1 

Verses, songs, and sonnets, for the most part in the 
vernacular, were levelled at the impostor Bragadin. 

L'e granda, che co vago per la via 
in ogni campo, in ogni caliesella 
sento, che alguni cria 
quel dall' oro e zonto qua. 
la farina callera, 

e aldo po el contrario dalla zente, 
che ha del certo in scarsella, 
che dixe chiaramente, 
Mamugna sara appiccaa . . . 

Perche se Mamugna ha fatto l'oro, 

che e sta visto e tocca da sti signori, 

no xe certo decoro, 

che per la strada i putti, 

i barcaruoli e tutti 

ghe parli drio le spalle in so vergogna 

anzi che farghe reverentie e honori 

e stimarlo besogna 

che si se vede instrutti 

i homeni a honorar quel che ha danari, 

quel, che fa soldi di esser tegnu cari. 

Ma me vien ditto che ghe ne fa puochi, 

chil spende manco, chil no dona niente, 

che chi die haver capocchi 

resta senza speranza, 

chi ha credito el ghe avanza, 

chil zuoga, chil no perde, chil vadagna 

i miera de ducati allegramente . . . 

Si che concludo dubitando assai 

per tanti contrasegni, che no sia 

per deventarghe mai 

oro l'arzento vivo, 

anzi che lu sia privo 

del miracolosissimo secreto . . . 9 

1 Capitolo contro gli astrologhi et indovini (fourteenth century), published 
by A. Pilot, in Pagine Istriane, an. Ill, fasc. 4-5. Capodistria, 1905. 

2 Pilot, L'alchimista Marco Bragadin a Venezia (in Pagine Islriane, an. Ill, 
fasc. 9-10. Capodistria, 1905). 


But the same people who derided the learned follow- 
ers of the occult sciences themselves gave the rein to 
the maddest excesses of sorcery, witchcraft, and incan- 
tation, which were, and still are, the most pernicious 
perversions of the occult sciences. The Republic 
endeavoured to remove these causes of disturbance, 
and as early as October 28, 1/410, it issued a decree 
threatening with banishment, the pillory, and torture, 
all who should secretly practise sorcery, and a century 
later, on orders from the Patriarch, parish priests, 
when celebrating, invited the faithful to denounce 
all witches who raised evil spirits or appealed to them 
for knowledge of the future, or to capture the heart of 
coy mistresses, or to wean them away from their 
lovers, by incantations with the bones of men or 
animals, or by enchanted powders and magic philters. 1 
The trials for witchcraft show us the extraordinary 
lengths to which popular credulity could be carried. 
The devil was raised by the most ridiculous buf- 
fooneries con burle et buffonerie, con secreti ad amorem ; 
in 1 543 Fra Aurelio Sticiano, of Siena, practised sorcery 
with the hair and a bone of a dead man and con- 
secrated oil. In 1 582 Antonio Orlandini cured fevers 
by outlandish incantations and the leaves of the salvia, 
upon which he wrote mystic phrases. 2 In i58o, Laura 
Casaleri was accused of witchcraft and of commerce 
with the devil, of exorcism and incantations by the 
help of salvia leaves and beans ; the priest Serafino 
Gradi, canon of San Salvatore, was tried for sor- 
cery with consecrated oil ; Sebastiano Migliorini and 
his companion, Paola, for exorcism by magic circles 
and letters ; Elena Pazzano for having bewitched her 
own son by hanging round his neck a dead man's 

1 Gallicciolll, II, 20, 863, 864. The law runs — infaciendo herbariam, vel 
facturiam, ant in dando aliquid comedeve, vel por tare adossum, etc. Sorcery, 
magic, witchcraft, were known in Venetian dialect as catromonachk^ a word 
derived from the Greek. Boerio, Dizionario. 

2 Arch, di Stato, Sant' Uffizio, Busta 3o. 


bone ; 1 and so on, even down to later times. The 
trials almost always conclude with a sentence imposing 
abjuration, the recitation of prayers, the pillory, and 

But in the midst of this tentative science and the 
superstitions which hampered it the torch of learning 
flames high in the hand of one man, Paolo Sarpi, the 
loftiest intellect that Venice ever produced. The close 
of the sixteenth century saw the development of his 
marvellous scientific activity ; the opening of the next, 
his still more potent action in the region of ecclesi- 
astical politics. Born on August i4> i552, of humble 
parents, he took the habit of the Servite monks at the 
age of thirteen and changed his baptismal name from 
Peter to Paul. When eighteen years of age, he went 
to Mantua as theologian to Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. 
He left Mantua for Milan, where he became a close 

i Arch, di Stato, Sant' Uffizio, Busta 65. We quote some passages 
from the trial of Laura Casaleri which give us an idea of the crime and 
the punishment: "IMoi" (i. e. the Nuncio, the Patriarch, the Inquisitor, 
and the lay assistant, Vito Morosini) •' . . . considerando non scnza 
grande ramarico dell'animo nostro che tu Laura Mantoana, relitta del 
condam Domenico Casaleri ncl primo voto, e nel 2° di Palvissar Pelas, 
per denuntia datta a questo Santo Ufficio, hai fatto resperimento della 
caraffa, buttato le fave, fatto scrivere alcuni nomi sopra ai foglie di salvia 
et il nome di un huomo e di una donna sopra un ovo, e d'haver guasto 
un putto, cose che ti mostravano in fatti et parolle lontana dal viver 
christiano . . . et . . . al ultimo hai detto in giuditio, et ratificato che 
fu vero che tu facesti l'esperimento della caraffa, et fatto scrivere il nome 
di un huomo e di una donna sopra un ovo cotto et alcuni nomi di santi, 
et anco altri incogniti sopra alcune foglie di salvia: Unde . . . sententiamo 
. . . che tu . . . se statta apostata della fede chatolica per haver fatto 
l'esperimento della caraffa, e percio . . . t'imponiamo che tu maledichi, 
detesti, et abiuri tutte e ciascheduna apostasia generalmente ed in parti- 
colare che sia ben fatto far ricorso al diavolo per saper cosa alcuna come 
hai fatto tu nel' esperimento della caraffa . . . Et accio che li tuoi peccati 
non restino in tutto impuniti et anco gli altri imparino schivare ogni 
apostasia, sortilegio et herbaria, ancorche di raggione, e secondo che si (e) 
osservato nelle altre meriti esser frustata et messa in berlina, nondimeno 
per raggionevoli et convenienti rispetti questa pena pubblica se rimette, 
ma ti bandimo da tutto il ser. mo Dominio Veneto per anni dieci continui 
prossimi futuri . . . et per penitentia salutare t'imponiamo che per un 
anno continuo li giorni di venere debbi recitar la corona geuuflessa avinJti 
l'imagine della Beata Vergine . . . 28 novembre, 1589." 


friend of Carlo Borromeo. On his return to Venice 
in his twenty-seventh year, he was elected provincial 
of his order. Quarrels among the brothers and the 
need to reform the constitutions and statutes of the 
order took him to Rome, where he won the favour of 
Sixtus V and of princes and cardinals, among them 
Bellarmine and Gastagna, afterwards Urban VII. 
When his country demanded his advice, Sarpi's calm 
intelligence and profound intuition saved the State from 
the menace of sacerdotal domination. But in this place 
it is our intention to dwell only on the influence he 
exercised in the world of science. Unfortunately no 
documents have been preserved to us ; a fire at the 
Servites in 1760 destroyed all Sarpi's autographs on the 
subject of mathematics and of natural science. There 
remains, however, the evidence of contemporaries and 
of more recent writers who had opportunity to examine 
the papers of the great Servite ; and we can gather some 
vague information about Sarpi in his relation to physics, 
mathematics, metaphysics, and natural science, from a 
copy of one of his manuscripts which was made by 
order of Marco Foscarini, at that time procurator of 
San Marco, and is now preserved in the library at 
Vienna. 1 But it would be vain to deduce from these 
"mere memoranda," as Foscarini rightly calls them, 
a precise conception of Sarpi's scientific position, the 
value of which is more definitely established by the 
series of testimonies to its greatness collected by 
Colomesio, Morofio, and Popeblount. 2 Galileo not 
only called Sarpi padre e maestro, and, as Viviani 
assures us, communicated to the friar his observa- 
tions on sun-spots, but when Capra challenged his 
priority in the invention of the geometrical compass, 
the great astronomer replied that no one could be a 

1 Cassani, Paolo Sarpi e le scienze naturall (Ateneo Veneto, ser. IV, N° 4» 
October, 1882). 

2 Foscarini, Lett. ven. t p. 98. Venezia, i854- 


better arbiter in the dispute than Paolo Sarpi, as 
" nessuno in Europa, si pub aflermare senza ipcrbole, 
lo sorpassa nella cognizioni matematiche." Robert 
Anderson, a distinguished Scotch geometrician, sent 
his problems to Sarpi for revision, and urged the 
friar to publish the treatise on the Ricognizione delle 
equazioni* which he had already composed; another 
well-known mathematician, the Frenchman Aleaume, 
submitted his writings to the Servite as to a judge quo 
non sapientior alter. 2 Francesco Griselini, who in the 
eighteenth century bestowed loving care on the study 
of Sarpi's life and writings Avas able to examine the 
manuscripts at the Servites before the fire. He tells 
us that he found among them a copy of the works 
of Francesco Vieta, — precursor of Descartes in the 
application of algebra to geometry, — emended and 
enlarged by Sarpi. Wotton the English ambassador, 
Claude Saumaise, in the dedication of his " Studies on 
Pliny," and the mathematician Marino Ghetaldi unite 
in his praise. Sarpi, an acute and patient observer, 
was the first to note the contraction and expansion 
of the uvea in the eye, a discovery which Fabrizio 
d'Acquapendente explicitly states that the Servite com- 
municated to him. On the other hand, it does not 
seem that the discovery of the valves in the veins, an 
observation which led to the more important discovery 
of the circulation of the blood, was suggested to Ac- 
quapendente by Sarpi, as has been affirmed, for the 
latter makes no mention of it, and the more cautious 
critics conclude that both observers made the discovery 
independently. 3 Sarpi's versatile genius did not con- 
fine itself to mathematics and to anatomical stud- 
ies. He communicated some of his observations on 

1 Griselini, Del genio di F. Paolo Sarpi in ogni facolta scientifica, etc. 
Venezia, 1785. 

2 Cassani, loc. cit., p. 22^. n- 17* 
» Ibid. 


terrestrial magnetism to the great Neapolitan physicist 
Giambattista Porta and to the patrician Gianfrancesco 
Sagredo, the friend of Galileo and one of the inter- 
locutors in his " Dialogues." Sagredo had acquired a 
great reputation as an astronomer by his observations 
on the sun-spots and on Jupiter's satellites, and as a 
physicist by his improvements in the thermometer and 
by his discovery of certain meteorological phenomena. 
Sarpi with his penetrating intuition surmised certain 
of the great scientific laws which others subsequently 
explained and amplified. 

But it is in the region of political rather than of 
purely scientific speculation that the genius of the 
Venetians finds its highest and freest expression through 
the mouth of Paolo Sarpi. That political genius is dis- 
played in the official histories, and still better in the 
reports of the Venetian ambassadors, — monuments of 
acute practical observation, which examine the causes 
of social phenomena and grasp, penetrate, and illumi- 
nate contemporary personages and events. Side by side 
with chronicles, diaries, annals, there arose the formal 
"history," modelled on the ancients and inspired by 
a definite political idea. The first to whom, after the 
revival of learning, we can properly apply the title 
of historian is Bernardo Giustinian (b. i4o8), author 
of the work De origine urbis Venetiarum. But the 
Republic soon grasped the fact that where the bare 
chronicle of events assumed the form of critical history 
it opened the door to discussion of principles of state- 
craft, and obeying that instinct of prudence which 
was ever its safeguard, it resolved that the history of 
Venice should be given to the public only by an official 
historiographer appointed for that purpose, and who, 
under the supervision of the Council of Ten, should 
be allowed access to official documents. Marcantonio 
Goccio Sabellico, of Vicovaro (1 436-1 5o6), published 
his history of Venice in 1487, and the State assigned 


him an annual stipend of two hundred ducats. But 
Sabellico's Decades were not commissioned by the 
government, who reserved the post for a patrician. 
During the sixteenth century the following held the 
office : Andrea Navagero, the ambassador who died at 
Blois in 1529, at the age of forty-six without com- 
pleting the history for which he had received the 
commission in i5i5 ; l Pietro Bembo ; Alvise Contarini 
(b. i536, d. 1579), an d Paolo Paruta (b. i54o, d. 1598), 
who in his Prefazione della vita politica sets forth the 
aims and ideas of the Venice of his day. 2 General 
and special histories of Venice, of her wars, and her 
achievements — written not precisely at the order of 
the government, but certainly not against its wishes 
or in opposition to its views — have been left us by 
Pancrazio and Pietro Giustinian, Francesco Contarini, 
Andrea Mocenigo, Daniele Barbaro, Gian Giacomo 
Caroldo, Emilio Maria Manolesso, Niccolo Zeno, Paolo 
Ramusio, son of Giambattista, Gian Niccolo Doglioni, 
from Belluno but settled in Venice. Nor must we 
omit Pietro Marcello, author of the Vile del Dogi ; 
Michele Orsini, Bishop of Pola, who wrote De antiqaa 
Venetorum origine et regione ; Alvise Mocenigo and 
Giammichele Bruto, with their Bellum Cameracense , 
and the eight books Florentine Historix. The con- 
stitution of the Republic, on which Donald Giannotti 
and Umberto Foglietta both wrote, is more amply 
treated by Gasparo Contarini in his De Magistrat'ibus 
et Republica Venetorum than by any other historian. 

1 Navagero and Agostino Beazzano, a Trevisan poet, were painted by 
Raphael. The picture is in the Doria Gallery in Rome, and is known as 
portraits of Baldus and Bartolus ; but a comparison of the strong, severe, 
yet witty face of the man in the cap with the portrait at Berlin, painted 
by a Venetian artist in i5a6 and called Andreas Navagerus, leaves no 
doubt as to the identity of the Doria portrait. Minghetti, Raffaelo, p. 180. 
Bologna, i885. 

2 Zanoni, P. Paruta nella vita e nelle op. Livorno, 1904. Pompeati, 
Le dottrine politiche di P. P. (in the Giornali Storico della Lett. Ital. 
Torino, 1906). 


But courtly history, often redundant and prolix, did 
not satisfy the need for daily registration of minute 
details and passing events. At the close of the fifteenth 
and throughout the following century we get the admir- 
able chronicles of another Andrea Navagero, of the two 
Dolfin, of Antonio Dona, of Gasparo Zancaruolo, of 
Agostino degli Agostini, of the Barbo family, of Stefano 
Magno, and the work which commonly goes under the 
name of the Cronaca Savina. 1 Of higher value are the 
Annali (i457~i5oo) of Domenico Malipiero, a shrewd 
politician and a brave soldier ; the Diari of Girolamo 
Priuli 2 (i4o,4-i5i2), and the Diari (i5i2-i5ai) of 
Marcantonio Michiel, an acute observer of events ; 3 
while the Diari of Marin Sanudo give us an admirable 
portrait of a whole epoch of stormy European history. 

Sanudo is one of the figures which adorn Venetian 
history, both as patrician and as historian. He was 
born in the parish of San Giacomo dall' Orio on May 20, 
1 466 ; his father was Leonardo Sanudo, statesman and 
man of letters ; his mother, Letitia Venier. Marin lost 
his father when he was only ten years old, and his 
mother took him to Sanguine tto, in the Veronese, a 
castle belonging to the Venier family, and there he 
received his early education from Niccolo da Legnago 

1 The Marciana possesses two copies of the Cronaca Savina ; one comes 
down to 1 588, the other to i6i5. It was generally supposed that the 
author was Gerolamo Savina, on the authority of Foscarini ; hut a recent 
publication of Doctor Francesco Marini (11 Codice Savina, per nozze Sardi- 
Medin, Treviso, 1901) proves that the true author is Andrea de Conti, 
called il rasonato, who brought his work down to 1 588 ; the continuation 
down to 161 5 is probably by his son. 

2 Priuli's Diari were divided into eight volumes ; they cover the period 
from April I, i4o,4, to July, i5ia. A copy in the Library at Vienna 
lacks the first and third volumes. There is another copy of the sixteenth 
century in which the third volume is missing; of this copy the first 
volume is in the Marciana (cl. VII, Ital. cod. i3o), and the other six 
at the Museo Givico. Fulin, Diari di G. Priuli (Arch. Veneto, XXII, 

» The Diari of Michiel, discovered and ascribed to him by Cicogna 
(Mem. Istitato Ven., pp. 375 et seq, 1861), go down to i5ai, but it seems 
that Michiel carried them on to i545. 


and Macario of Camerino. 1 He soon attracted attention 
by his genius and by his love of study, and when fif- 
teen years old he wrote a treatise entitled Memorabilia 
Deorum Dearumque ; when seventeen, he compiled his 
Itinerarium Terrse Fermse, in which he described per 
ordine citade el castelli, illustrated by pen drawings ; 
at twenty, the Commentari delle guerre di Ferrara. With 
the fullest resolve to record events and facts in obedi- 
ence to sound historical canons of unity and order, 
he had already completed his works De origine sita el 
magistratibus urbis Venetss, the Vile dei Dogi, and the 
Spedizione di Carlo VIII in Italia, when he himself 
found that it was not possible to write the history of 
the actual moment ; he therefore resolved to undertake 
a daily record of events, which he entered in those 
Diaries which have secured for him an immortal name. 
This vast enterprise did not prevent him from at- 
tending to his public duties nor from sharing in the 
joyous life of his day ; his heart was open to the pas- 
sion of love, his mind responded to the claims of 
poesy. His youthful loves for Gemma and for Candida 
inspired verses in the manner of Petrarch, and gave 
him two natural daughters, Candiana and Bianca, to 
whom he consecrated the tenderest paternal care ; he 
dowered and wedded them, one to Giovanni Morello, the 
other to Angelo Gratarolo. 2 When treasurer in Verona 
in i5oi, he frequented literary circles and the fashion- 
able world, and although well on in years he loved 
and sang Laura Brenzoni-Schioppo, as seven years 
before he had paid court to the poetess Girolama Corsi- 
Ramos, whose portrait was painted by Carpaccio. 3 In 
i5o5 he returned to Venice and married Cecilia Priuli, 

1 Brown, R., Ragguagli sulla vita e sidle opere di M. S. Venezia, 1887. 
Berchet, / Diarii di Marino Sanudo, Preface, p. \l\. Venezia, 1904. 

3 Berchet, op. cit., p. 91. 

8 She was born in Tuscany, and came to the Veneto in her youth. 
Sanudo had a copy of her poems bound in an elegant little volume. He 
calls h«r excelente. 


widow of Girolamo Barbarigo, and there in his quiet 
home on the fondamenta del Miglio at San Giacomo 
dall' Orio, in the midst of domestic cares not always 
light and of public duties not ahvays easy, he worked 
indefatigably at his Diaries, which filled fifty-eight 
volumes, and covered the years from January I, 1/196, 
to April, 1 533. The Council of Ten gave him a salary 
of one hundred and fifty ducats a year. Ma, says 
Sanudo himself in his will, zuro a Dio e nulla alia 
grandissima fatica ho fatto. Dispassionately, impar- 
tially he notes the episodes of public life, and is rich in 
details of private affairs. Nothing escapes his observa- 
tion ; political events, all that affected legislation, man- 
ners, art, letters, all the minutest and less obvious 
details, epigrams, satires, comedies, personal episodes, 
and private letters find a place on his pages. After his 
death, on April 4, i536, his Diaries became the property 
of the State, and were preserved in a secret chamber of 
the Council of Ten, where they lay almost forgotten. 1 

Pietro Aretino (1^92-1 556) treated the personages of 
his day in very different fashion. Under the aegis of 
Venetian freedom, which gave shelter alike to noble 
spirits and to vicious adventurers, Aretino was enabled 
shamelessly to flatter all who made him presents of 
money, jewels, clothes, and to vilify those who refused 
him such tribute. Aretino reached Venice on March 
a3, 1527, and quickly became a friend of Titian, who 
painted his portrait for the first time in that year, 2 and 
shortly afterwards he was courteously received by the 

1 All trace of the Diaries was lost for many years, and Marco Foscarini 
regrets their disappearance. But in 1784 Francesco Donato, last histori- 
ographer of the Republic, discovered them and had them copied. The 
Depuiazione Veneta di Storia Patria began the publication in 1870, and 
finished it in igo5. 

2 This, the first of Titian's portraits of Aretino, was sent, in 1627, as a 
present to the Marchese Federico Gonzaga, of Mantua, by Titian himself. 
It must have migrated to England in 1627, on the sale of the Gonzaga 
Gallery to Charles I. Titian painted another portrait of Aretino fur 
Francesco Marcolini, which Gavalcaselle believes to be the picture once in 

vol. 1. — 1 5 


Doge Andrea Gritti. Of a quick wit and a pleasing 
humour, graceful in person, as lavish in gifts as he was 
avaricious in expecting them, not without attractive 
qualities in the midst of his many vices, 1 this son of 
the cohbler of Arezzo soon saw the road to fortune 
opening out before him. His facile pen poured out 
letters, dialogues, comedies, a tragedy, — a hundred 
pieces all marked by servility, indecency, and hypoc- 
risy ; yet the coarse soil of his immodest writings 
yields us every now and then a flower among the rank 
grass. Mid the licentiousness of thought and of form 
we occasionally meet with subtlety of observation and 
freshness of humour ; descriptions, like the famous 
word picture of Venice, rich in colour and veracious ; 
his invectives and calumnies are occasionally redeemed 
by the expression of some noble idea. The Pronostici 
and Giudizi which the great lampooner, following the 
habit of the times, was wont to publish in broad 
sheets to be hawked through the streets, point the 
way to the modern newspaper. 2 

possession of Count Giustinian of Padua. The most celebrated portrait is 
the one which is now in the Pitti ; it was sent to Duke Cosimo in i5/J5 
by Aretino. There was a fourth likeness in the Chigi Gallery at Rome. 

ntly went to London. Sebastian del Piombo, Gaspare IV 
Moretto, and Francesco detto del Selviati also painted Aretino. Moretto's 
and Francesco's portraits have been lost. Titian introduced Aretino into 
two of his compositions, — the Ecce Homo, painted for Giovanni d'Anna, 
now at Vienna, and the Allocuzione, paintea for the Marchese del Vasto 
(now at Madrid). In the frosco in the Palazzo della Signoria, Giorgio 
Yasari represented Aretino among the crowd that precedes Pope Leo X on 
his triumphal entry into Florence ; but the likeness is taken from the por- 
trait in the Pitti, which served as model for the portrait in the collection 
of Paolo Giovio as well. The medals of Aretino are innumerable (see 
Lumbroso, G., I maestri di zecca di Pietro Aretino in the Memorie italiane 
del buon tempo antico, Torino, 1889) ; so, too, are the engravings. As 
regards these Gauthiez (L'Aretin, Paris, 1895) assures us that, in the print 
room at Paris there are no less than twenty-three portraits of Aretino. 
Marcantonio Raimondi's is the best known. See the articles by Ricci and 
Luzio on the Ritratti tizianeschi dell' Aretino (in the Marzocco, Firenze, 
9 and 16 July, 1906). 

1 Graf, Un processo a Pietro Aretino (in Attraverso il Cinquecento, p. 89. 
Torino, 1888). 

2 Luzio, Un pronostico satirico di P. Aretino. Bergamo, 1900. 


The new learning, initiated at the opening of the 
Quattrocento, pursued its course ; the fine qualities of 
Humanism were appreciated by the practical mind of 
the Venetians, and her statesmen, though immersed 
in political affairs, found time to devote themselves to 
classical studies with such ardour as to merit the enthu- 
siastic and even excessive praise of Galateo : ' ■ Soli vos 
Veneti custodes grecae et latin® integritatis." 1 Diplo- 
mats took advantage of their opportunities, and Alvise 
Mocenigo brought back from his mission to France in 
i5o6 a precious codex of Pliny ; while Girolamo Donato, 
who had been on an embassy to Julius II, paused on 
his journey from Rome to copy ancient inscriptions. 2 
In order to counteract the possible danger to her 
social, economic, and political life, which might arise 
from an excessive devotion to humanistic studies, 
the State favoured the emigration of her learned men 
to other cities, especially to Rome, where some of them 
rose to the rank of Protonotary, Bishop, Cardinal, and 
even of Pope. 3 

Culture, indeed, became hereditary in certain fami- 
lies. The Barbaro family, which had already produced 
two illustrious members, Francesco and Ermolao, 
Bishop of Verona, gave to this epoch another Ermolao 
(b. 1 4 54), cousin of his namesake the bishop. Ermolao 
united a vast erudition with his political and ecclesias- 
tical occupations, and would have won a wider renown 
had not death cut him off in i4o,3, at the age of 
thirty-nine, while living in Rome, where he had just 
been named Cardinal. 4 Daniele Barbaro (b. i5i3, d. 
1570), a many-sided man, was Patriarch of Aquileia, 
and his brother Marcantonio (b. i5i8, d. i5o,5), a 

1 Antonio de Ferrariis (Galateo), De laudibus Venetiarum (in the Collana 
discritt. di Terra d'Otranto, II, 3a. Lecce, 1868). 

2 Cian, La coltura e I'italianita di Venezia nel Rinascimento, pp. 29, 3o. 
Bologna, 1905. 

8 Cian, loc. cit. 

4 Stickney, De Hermolai Barbarivita. Lutetiae Parisiorum, MGMIII. 


diplomat of distinction and Bailo at Constantinople, 
was a munificent patron of artists. Marco Barbaro 
(b. i5n, d. 1570) compiled the valuable genealogy of 
Venetian families. 

The family of Grimani was rendered illustrious by 
Domenico and the three brothers, Marino, Marco, and 
Giovanni, his nephews. Uncle and nephews were 
patriarchs of Aquileia, Domenico and Marino cardinals 
as well. Domenico Grimani, son of the Doge Antonio, 
was born in i46i, and was one of the most character- 
istic and engaging types of Venetian genius. In his 
youth he went to Florence, where he became the friend 
of Pico della Mirandola and Politian ; he was Vene- 
tian ambassador to Frederick III, entered the Church 
in i4q3, and died at Rome in i523. His nephews 
combined a knowledge of books with knowledge of the 
world; Marco (d. i544) was procurator of San Marco 
in 1 52 2, and commander of twenty Papal galleys 
against the Turk in i537 ; Marino (b. cir. i488, d. 
i547) was a well-known patron of the arts ; Giovanni 
(d. i5g3) was a learned amateur of antiquities, and 
author of a volume of Consigli on leading cases. 

In short, we find a whole galaxy of students, more or 
less illustrious, born in Venice, who by advice, assist- 
ance, and munificent patronage, encouraged both art and 
letters, and wrote in Latin and in the vulgar tongue on 
the most varied subjects. In addition to those names 
already recorded we must recall, among others, Gasparo 
Contarini, raised to the purple, a man of lofty mind 
and intellect, born in i483, who died during his lega- 
tion at Bologna in i542 ; 1 Bernardo Navagero (d. i565), 
famous for learning and eloquence and his patronage of 
letters, whose house was a centre of culture ; Marc- 
antonio Amulio (da Mula) (b. i5o5, d. 1670), librarian 
of the Vatican ; Francesco Commendone (b. i524, d. 

1 De Leva, Della vita e delle opere del Cardinale G. Contarini. Padova, 
1 863. 



1 584) ; Agostino Valier (d. 1606), author of a history 
of Venice, and the Life of Cardinal Navagero, his rela- 
tion by blood ; scholars and writers, for the most part 
prelates or patricians, famous in their day and not 
forgotten by posterity. Among them Fra Francesco 
Colonna, the celebrated Polifilo (b. i433, d. 1527) ; 
Trifone Gabriele (b. 1/I71, d. i54q), called the Socrates 
of his age, and Angelo, also of the Gabriele family, 
who, in 1/192, accompanied Bembo to Messina to attend 
the classes of Costantino Lascaris ; Niccolo Liburnio, 
priest of Santa Fosca (d. i557), who along with Bembo 
was among the first to study Italian philology ; Fran- 
cesco Negro, the grammarian ; Yincenzo Quirini, col- 
lector of Oriental manuscripts, an able diplomat whose 
reports on Germany are considered superior to Machia- 
velli's ; Daniele Renier, not only a mathematician but 
also a humanist, member of the Aldine Academy, and 
executor under Aldus' will ; Paolo Canal, cut off in 
his youth, in the year i5o8, learned in Greek, Latin, 
Hebrew, philosophy, and mathematics ; Marco Moro- 
sini, poet and philosopher ; Giambattista Cipelli, called 
Egnazio (b. i/*73, d. i553), master of profound thought 
and lucid style ; Andrea Trevisan, jurist and compiler 
of a dictionary of the vulgar tongue ; Sebastian Erizzo 
(b. i525, d. i585), an accomplished numismatist and 
author of a volume of stories called Sei giornate ; Fran- 
cesco Amadi (b. i566), man of letters and connoisseur ; 
Alvise Dardano, Grand Chancellor, who wrote in defence 
of women, and Pietro Bruto and Fra Sisto de' Medici, 
who attacked the Jews ; Monsignore Giovanni Brevio 
(b. i55o), a graceful novelist; Giovanni Lorenzi, an 
eminent Hellenist, secretary to Innocent VIII ; Lodovico 
Dolce, a versatile writer on various subjects. Although 
he was born in Florence, we may reckon Francesco 
Sansovino a Venetian ; he was almost too prolific as 
an author, and so were Girolamo Ruscelli of Viterbo, 
Lodovico Domenichi and Girolamo Parabosco of 


Piacenza, Dionigi Atanagi of Gagli, Tommaso Por- 
cacchi of Castiglion the Florentine, all of whom lived 
for long in Venice and kept its press supplied. 

Eloquence was made the subject of careful study, 
and side by side with the professional diplomats who 
used a language of vigorous and eifective simplicity, 
there grew up a school of oratory winch employed 
every device of classical rhetoric ; we may cite as an 
instance the oration pronounced by Pietro Bembo when 
Legate of Pope Leo X in i5i4- Pietro Badoaro (d. 
1 591) was reckoned the Cicero of his day, and Giovanni 
Dona enjoyed a great reputation which won him the 
sobriquet of delle renghe (delle arlnghe — speeches); Car- 
dinal Francesco Commendone had a happy gift of im- 
provised discourse on the profoundest topics. Oratory 
had its manuals, — Cardinal Marcantonio da Mula's De 
sublimi genere dicendi, Gian Maria Memmo's dialogue 
Loralore, and Daniele Barbaro's Delteloquenza. But 
the Council chambers of the Republic were a more 
favourable school, where the speakers who avoided 
flowers of rhetoric were listened to in religious silence, 
while the tedious were coughed down. 1 

The Venetian who achieved the highest renown in 
letters at this date was Pietro Bembo. His father, 
Bernardo (d. i5i()), was a patrician of great culture, 
a worthy magistrate, esteemed by Lorenzo de' Medici 
and the leading litterateurs of his day, and a collector 
of manuscripts. When filling the post of Vicedomino 
in Ravenna, he paid due honour to the memory of 
Dante. 2 His son Pietro inherited his qualities along 
with his noble blood. Pietro was born in 1/470 and 
died in i5^7. His genius was equal to the highest 
and severest demands, nor did any one surpass him as 

1 Sanudo (Diari, XVI, hgi) records that on July 10, i5i3, he spoke 
in the Great Council and was received with such attention that niun 

2 Cian, Per Bernardo Bembo (Giorn. slor. della Lett. It., T. XXVIII 
and XXXI). 


a patron of letters and arts. In i5i2 he went to Rome, 
where he became secretary to Leo X; but in i52i he 
left the noise and worry of the great city for the studious 
seclusion of his Paduan villa. While still a youth he 
had brooded over and perhaps partially written among 
the green boscage of Asolo and in Queen Gaterina's 
castle, his book Gli Asolani ; and in i5oo, while under 
the influence of a violent passion, he found time to 
meditate alcune annotazioni della lingua, which, after 
frequent changes and revision, appeared in i525 in 
his Prose and was at once hailed as the standard of 
style in the vulgar tongue. Surrounded by a band of 
enthusiastic followers, of whom Trifone Gabriele was 
the leader, Bembo made Venice and Padua two living 
centres of classical and Italian culture, and as an ardent 
admirer of the Medici, he, too, succeeded in reconciling 
those conflicting tendencies in letters, the return to 
the ancient and the development of the modern tongue. 
The characteristic note of this group of Venetian writers 
is an uncompromising devotion to Petrarch in verse 
and to Boccaccio in prose. 1 Bembo, ever bent on rais- 
ing the vulgar tongue to the same rank as the classics, 
became a collaborator with his friend Aldus Manutius in 
the reissue of Dante and of the Canzoniere of Petrarch, 
and kindly undertook to criticise and correct the in- 
numerable copies of verses that were showered upon 
him from all quarters, whether they came from obscure 
rhymesters or from such well-known poets as Beazzano, 
Tebaldeo, Bernardo Cappello. In the midst of this 
universal admiration there was found only one man 
of letters bold enough to rebel against the authority 
of Bembo ; that was the young Venetian poet Antonio 
Brocardo, the pupil of Trifone Gabriele and of Pom- 
ponazzi, and it turned out ill for him ; attacked on 
all sides for his sacrilege, he took it so to heart that 
he died. Surrounded by his family Bembo passed the 

1 Cian, Un decennio della vita di P. Bembo, pp. 38, 39. Torino, i885. 


years from i523 to i53i in his villa at Santa Maria 
di Non or in his house in Padua. In this pleasant 
retreat he did not neglect his friends ; his correspond- 
ence forms one of the most valuable parts of his 
literary activity ; as, indeed, are the letters of this 
period in general, giving us, as they do, a clear and 
dispassionate insight into the writer's temperament, 
the episodes of domestic and public life, the opinions 
and judgments of their authors. The delightful villa 
and splendid palace of Bembo became the meeting- 
place for all the men of letters who either lived in 
Venice or were making a journey through the Veneto. 
His constant and favourite occupation was verse, though 
one cannot say that he ranks among the more copious 
and original poets. If in his Latin poems he rivals 
the ancients in elegance, in his Italian verse har- 
mony, lofty imagination bred of learning, nobility, if 
not simplicity, of thought, hardly compensate for lack 
of vigour and veracity in the emotions, for the sub- 
servience of matter to form, for the slavish imitation 
of Petrarch which Bembo introduced. 

Among Bembo's enthusiastic followers were Agostino 
Beazzano 1 (d. 1571P); Bernardo Cappello 2 (b. 1/198, 
d. 1 565) ; Girolamo Molin (b. i5oo, d. 1569), and 
Domenico Venier (b. 1517, d. i582). In their foot- 
steps came other poets, more laboured than elegant, 
such as Jacopo Zane (d. i56o) ; Jacopo Mocenigo 
(d. 1570) ; Jacopo Tiepolo (d. i586) ; Giorgio Grade- 
nigo (d. 1600), 3 and others inspired by Petrarch and 
modelled on Bembo. 4 Even those who, like Antonio 

1 Beazzano was born towards the close of the fifteenth century, in 
Treviso, though he belonged to a famiglia cittadinesca vcneziana, and called 
himself Venetian. 

2 Cappello is mentioned in Ariosto (Orlando, XXXVII, 8 ; XLVI, i5). 

» Bernardo Tasso records these Venetian poets in the Amadigi, Canto l\0. 

* Marco Foscarini proposed to publish the poems of sixty Venetian 
nobles of the sixteenth century, some of whom are recorded by Morelli 
in his Operette (I, ip,5 et seq. See Crespan, Del Petrarchismo e del 
principals petrarchisti veneziani (in Petrarca a Venezia, Venezia, 1874). But 

POETRY 3 33 

Brocardo (i53i) and Cornelio Castaldi of Feltre (i536), 
claimed to have freed themselves from the domination 
of Petrarch as the one irrefragable canon of literary 
taste, found that they were really following humbly in 
the footsteps of both Petrarch and Bembo. Without 
the smallest regard they manipulated Petrarch in every 
conceivable direction, even to the point of rendering 
him ridiculous 1 by transforming his love for Laura 
into a sacred poem, as Fra Girolamo Malipiero 2 had the 
audacity to do. Malipiero was also the author of a 
Latin poem on the Life of Saint Francis. Not even 
the great victory of Lepanto had the power to rouse 
the imagination of the Venetian poets, who pour out 
a monotonous flood of rhymes on the struggle between 
Christian civilisation and Ottoman barbarism. The 
style was characterised by verbal conceits, turgidity, 
caprice, which herald the approach of the Seicento. 
The most remarkable example is to be found in the 
verses of Luigi Groto, which abound in extravagant 
metaphors. Luigi Groto (i54i-i585), called II Cieco 
d'Adria, because he lost his sight shortly after birth, 
was frequently in Venice as envoy from his native town, 
and was wont to entertain society with his songs. 3 
More worthy of record are Andrea Navagero, a writer 
of elegant Latin verse ; Gelio Magno, a poet who is 
frequently graceful and effective both in thought and 
form. He published along with his own poems the 
verses of Orsatto Giustinian, 4 no less skilful a poet ; 
and Gaspara Stampa, the gentle Anassilla, 5 who, though 

this essay, and another by Malmignati, serve to make us feel the want 
of a serious study on the whole important subject. With more profit we 
may consult Graf, Petrarchismo (in Attraverso il Cinquecento, pp. 28 et seq.). 

1 Franco, N., II Petrarchista, a dialogue. Venezia, Giolitto, i53(). 

2 Maripetro, G., II Petrarca spirituale rist. nuovamente et dalVhautore 
corretto. Venezia, Marcolini, i538. 

3 Groto, Luigi, Rime. Venetia, 1610. 

4 Celio Magno ed Orsatto Giustinian, Rime. Venetia, Muschio, 1600. 
6 She called herself Anassilla, from the river Anaxum, the Piave which 

flowed by the Castle of the Gollalto, to whom belonged Gollaltino, the 
faithless lover of the luckless songstress. 


she followed the style of her day, preserved a certain 
originality and poured out in three Centuries of Sonnets 
the rare joys and the profound sorrows of her heart 
which in the midst of universal gaiety bewailed the 
daily, hourly flight of time, niggard of sweetness and 

But in truth, Venice, so rich in the poetry of line 
and colour, never produced a great poet who could 
express the supreme beauty of thought and form which 
so many painters rendered successfully by their brush. 
The highest expression of Venetian genius is to be 
found in the arts that are based on design ; it is there 
that we feel the true artistic sense of the race, whose 
lyrics are the smiling forms upon Venetian canvases, 
whose epic is written on the glorious buildings of the 
city. The arts of the brush, the compass, and the 
chisel maintained a wide and splendid dominion, while 
the art of verse dwindled and died, because of its ad- 
diction to flattery, refinements, and far-fetched conceits. 

But beneath the bombast of cultured verse, in the 
midst of these verbal conceits and sounding phrases, we 
can catch a burst of joyous laughter on the stage and 
in vernacular poetry. We shall deal later on with the 
theatre in its intimate connection with the history of 
manners, which Venetian playwrights represent to us 
in scenes inspired by that sense of humour which 
characterises the Venetian populace. Venetian popular 
poetry, often trivial and tiresome, not seldom obscene, 
sometimes lively and to the point, reflects the charac- 
teristics of the race. In the fifteenth century a Vene- 
tian patrician, Leonardo Giustinian, had given a graceful 
poetical clothing to simple episodes studied from the 
life. Now another patrician, MafTeo, later on Arch- 
bishop of Corfu, son of Domenico Veniero, wrote in 
his native dialect a poem, La Slrazzosa, 1 rippling with 
laughter, wit, and spontaneity. His sprightly license 

1 Gamba, Serie degli scritt< in dial, p. 90. Ven., i83a. 


becomes disgusting obscenity in the verses of his brother 
Lorenzo, who endeavoured to rival Aretino in two of 
his filthy poems, La puttana errante and La Zqffetta. 

But Alessandro Caravia, a son of the people, has 
given us a poem that is amusing without being mali- 
cious in Naspo bizaro, that recounts in easy vein the 
loves of Naspo, a Gastellano, with Gate Biriota l ; and still 
fresher and more original is Andrea Calmo, comedian 
and playwright, born of a poor family of fisher folk, or 
boatmen, about i5io, who died on February a3, 1571. 
Calmo' s quaint but vigorous vein of originality is 
better seen in his letters, 2 in his bizzare, faconde el 
ingeniose rime pescatorie^ than in his comedies. He, 
too, delights in quips and conceits, but throughout 
that strange mixture of sense and folly which character- 
ises his prose and his verse he displays a firm grasp on 
the comic side of life, and an observation so acute and 
just as to represent the very antithesis of the false 
idealism and the tiresome roundelays which stamp 
the followers of Petrarch. In an age steeped in artifi- 
ciality and a society growing daily more and more 
conventional, we are drawn to this light-hearted, lazy, 
insouciant son of the people, now to be found in the 
bosom of his family, now on a spree with his boon 
companions, who ends by exclaiming: 

Val meio un zorno che se staga en paxe 
Che gran signor e non esser sicuro. 

On the other hand, the poems of Andrea Michieli, 
called Strazzola, who was born after the middle of the 
fifteenth century, and died in i5io, 4 foreshadow that 

1 Caravia, Naspo bizaro. Venetia, D. Nicolino, i565. 

2 Calmo's Lettere have been collected and annotated with a learned 
critical and biographical Preface by Vittorio Rossi. 

3 he bizzare, faconde et ingeniose rime pescatorie nelle quali si contengono 
sonetti, stanze, capitoli, madrigali, epitaphij, disperate e canzoni per M. 
Andrea Calmo. In Vinegia, appresso Jouambatt. Bertacagno, al segno di 
San Moise, i55a. 

* Rossi, V., Canzoniere ined. dello Strazzola. 


spirit of malignant satire which degraded the liter- 
ature of the fifteenth, and still more of the sixteenth 
century. Sanudo says of him, "/h onto de grande 
ingegno, in reliquis sporco et viciosissimo.'' l Vulgar 
in matter, rude and insipid in form, his verses, in 
which he basely vilifies the finer spirits of his day, 
are still of value as a proof of the spirit of mocking 
realism which ran through the life of the Venetian 

The coarse jest and loud guffaw ring throughout the 
satirical verse in Venetian dialect ; anonymous satires 
on men and manners were freely circulated in print or in 
manuscript, in broad sheets or placards, affixed to the 
walls. Sanudo records that they appeared for the 
first time on the colonnade at Rialto, in November, 
1 53a, and the subject was an attack on some well- 
known courtesans, whose names were coupled with 
that of Aretino, who got no more than his deserts, as he, 
too, diceva volentiera mal d' i signori et altri, 2 though 
we cannot say that Battista Egnazio merited the lam- 
poon di malla natura which was fastened to the chair 
of the learned man in his very class-room. 3 Rialto, 
where the life of the city was concentrated, usually 
served as the place chosen for launching these mali- 
cious and anonymous libels ; they were frequently 
attached to the famous stone called the Gobbo di 
Rialto, from the figure of a hunchback supporting it, 
whence the laws of the Republic were promulgated. 
The Gobbo di Rialto became in a way the Pasquino of 
Venice, and under the name of the Gobbo innumerable 
lampoons on men, manners, religion, even on the 
government, were launched upon the town. 4 There 

1 Sanudo, Diari, XI, 68o. 

2 For the satires on Aretino see Luzio, Rime del Demi trascr. da M. 
Sanudo (in the Giornale Storico di Lit. Ital., VII, 3aa). 

« Sanudo, Diari, LVII, 288. 

4 Moschetti, // Gobbo di Rialto e le sue relazioni con Pasquino (in the 
Nuovo Archivio Veneto, T. V, Part I). 

POETRY 2 3 7 

was another statue in Venice, Sior Antonio Rioba, as it 
is called by the people, built into the angle of an old 
house 1 in the Gampo dei Mori at the Madonna dell' 
Orto, which had a kind of kinship with the Gobbo di 
Rialto, and served as a cloak for popular satirists. 
There are two other figures also built into the walls of 
the same house which belonged to the brothers Rioba, 
Sandi, and Afani, who came from the Morea in 1112, 
and gave its name to the Gampo. 

Malignant personal satire began to flourish in Venice, 
when Aretino first appears upon the scene. The ribald 
libeller whose pen spared no one, not even the noblest 
ladies like the Duchess of Savoy, who he impudently 
declared facea col consenso pontijicio gli amori in 
Bologna with Charles V, her brother-in-law ; or the 
pure and pious Veronica Gambara, Lady of Cor- 
reggio, whom he lyingly styled a meretrice laureala ; 
or that high-born stainless lady, Isabella d'Este, 
described by him as la mostruosa Marchesana di 
Mantova la quale ha i denti de hebano e le ciglia di 
avorio, dis hones tamente brutta el arcidishonestamente 
imbellettata, partorira in senettute, — soon found a host 
of imitators. Aretino exercised over his contempo- 
raries a veritable tyranny, and it is a scandal not only 
that the age put up with him, but that high-minded 
women, and even Vittoria Golonna, the noblest of 
them all, stooped to traffic with their villanous ca- 
lumniator, in order to save themselves from his vile 
slanders and his baser threats of black-mailing. 
Isabella d'Este alone had the courage to despise the 
venal adventurer. 2 

It was such infamous libels as these that set the tone 

1 This house is part of a Gothic palace with a facade on the canal, also 
decorated with sculpture ; one of the groups represents a man in Oriental 
costume leading a camel. The three brothers, Rioba, Sandi, and Afani, are 
believed to have founded the family of the Mastelli, oilmen and druggists, 
who had a store at Cannaregio, at the sign of the Cammello. 

2 Luzio, Un pronostico sat. di P. A., op. cit. 


to the satires in dialect which passed from hand to 
hand, and attacked not only the most conspicuous per- 
sonages in the State, but even passed beyond the borders 
of the Lagoon to ridicule people and events. We have 
numerous examples, either already published or still 
lying buried in manuscript, of this satirical vein, which 
we shall meet with again and again in the course of our 
studies of the private life of Venice. Without dwelling 
at length on satire of a purely political tendency, we 
may note that this species usually attacks only the 
enemies of the Republic, and that its venom is there- 
fore, to a certain extent, justified. For example, the 
invectives against Lodovico il Moro may be compared 
with the copious praise of such friends and defenders 
of Venice as Bartolomeo Alviano. 1 The pungent wit 
of popular rhymesters mocks the Turks after their defeat 
at Lepanto, and among the numerous poems in dialect, 
usually poverty-stricken in ideas, we may note one 
remarkable for a certain military e"lan, entitled Barze- 
letta sulla rotla deWarmata del Sultano Selim ultimo re 
dei Turchi, supposed to be sung by the troops, who, 
after seeing the Turks bolting like cats, burst out into 
a chant of victory : 

O Slrathloti palicari, 
visto haveu pur l'allegrezza 
Yenetiana e la gramezza 
de li Turchi a Cuciulari 

O Strathioti palicari. 

Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy was another victim of 
the Venetian satirists, and it must be admitted that cer- 
tain aspects of that prince's character, his duplicity 3 
coupled with personal bravery, were not unhappily hit 
upon by the anonymous Venetian rhymester : 

1 See the Bibliography attached to Medin, Storia della R. di Venezia 
nella poesia. 

2 Gamba, Seriedegli scritti in dialetto ven., p. 85. Venezia, i83a. 
8 Balbo, Sommario, p. 3aa. Firenze, i85o. 

POETRY 2 3 9 

Mo vu tutt' intun tratto sotto pase 
Ordi trame, fe quello che ve piase 
O balestron, furlan, che tanti amisi 
Pur che fe '1 fatto vostro, no varde 
A chi tire, a vesini, o pur nemisi 
A che A, che anco un di ve pentire. 1 

But this loose and mocking vein of verse soon passed 
from the domain of politics to attack individuals in their 
private life and habits. Aldus Manutius the younger, 
son of Paolo, wished to dissolve his marriage contracted 
in 1572 with Francesca Lucrezia, daughter of Bortolo 
dei Giunti, the Florentine printer, and immediately he 
became the mark for mockery and sarcasm : 

An. m. (oh! missier) Aldo a che ziogo zioghemo 

Ve maride in Veniesia, 
Godi in gratia de Dio 
Fe fioli e po, vu cogione la giesia ! 
Fazando dechiarar per quanto intendo, 
Chel matrimonio e nullo . . . 
Cogioni, pare, 6 che ve se pentio. 
Delia mogier, o ella del mario . . . 
Mo ve aspetto zudio, 
E c6* sare stufao, 
Che ve fe mussulman 
Per far qualche comento all'alcoran . . . 
Horsu concludo e digo e stago saldo, 
Che se un coggion vitioso in stampa d'Aldo. 2 

Among the inedited satires we have an Epitome Vitas 
Cornelij Franzonij Merdamatici spurcissimi, a bitter 
invective against Cornelio Frangipane of the noble 
Friulan family, a brilliant orator, who, according to the 
anonymous libeller, after studying in Padua came to 
Venice and 

comminicio aprir un ludo litterario 
ove concorse una schiera de gioveni, 
che li imbeu de costumi si pessimi, 
che non so come soffra esta Republica, 
che una pianta malnata e cosi sterile 
tanto alligni in terren fecondo e nobile. 

1 Pilot, Alcuni componimenti ined. contro Carlo Emanuele I (from the 
Ateneo Veneto, Jan. -Feb. io,o5). 

2 Id., II divorzio di A. Manuzio il giov. (in the Ateneo Veneto, Jan. -Feb. 


After ridiculing Frangipane's pretensions as mathemati- 
cian, jurist, and man of letters, the writer concludes : 

. . . per te son devenuto Archiloco, 
non daro fine mai a rime e a sdruzzoli 
se pria tu non mi fai una Palinodia. 1 

Not even the great architect Palladio escaped, and 
the two following quatrains form part of a collection of 
epigrams attacking him : 

Qui sla 'I Palladio il qual mentre misura 
un pezzo di fragmento d'acquedotto 
gli cadde adosso, et ci rimase sotto 
et hebbe un tempo morte, e sepoltura. 

Non va il Palladio per mal a putane 
che se pur qualche volta suol andar 
lo fa perche le esorta a fabricar 
un atrio antiquo in mezo a Carampane. 2 

Fabio Patricio, orator and poet of Monopoli, called 
el Doltor, was also the object of satires inspired by 
venomous hatred ; in a sonnet he is thus apostrophised : 

. . . un furfantone 
un Parasito, uccellator da cena, 
un ruffian manigoldo da catena, 
che vive a torto e muore per raggione. 

Ma Vinegia riceve ogni bruttura, 
venga ogni infame da Citta sbandito, 
che qui ne andra do mille fregi adorno. 

Another sonnet begins : 

Vu, che in versificar passe ogni meta, 
fazzando a viver mo c6 fa el chiappin, 
in zuzarve le ongie e far bocchin 
ve tegniu mo pi bestia o pi Poeta ? 8 

Gasparo della Vedoa, who in ihyS was elected secre- 
tary to the Senate and filled the office of Grand Chan- 
cellor more than once, is thus lampooned : 

La gorna e qnclla che conduse l'acqua 
Canalis che vuol dir Gorna in latin 
No vien al Vedoa che xe gorna da vin. 4 

1 Marciana, cl. IX ital., cod. 173, p. a36. 

2 Ibid., cod. 271, p. 45. 
8 Ibid., cod. 173, p. 269. 
4 Ibid., cod. 371, p. 91. 


In some Stanze in nome de Zan Dona dalle renghe, 
the famous orator complains that at the age of sixty the 
government wishes to deprive him of his offices and 

Mi che ho tegnuo la balanza dretta, 

no vardando ne a brogi, ne a favori, 

vu me have fatto ascender a stafetta, 

a savio, a consegier, a tanti onori, 

ne so qual mala stella, o mal pianeta 

ve habbia messo in la testa questi humori, 

che me volevi far procurador 

e adesso anche el Pregai me vole tuor ? . . . 

But back comes the contemptuous reply : 

. . . vu favori nome marioli, 
e si vole scusar quei che ha la colpa, 
vu, i tegni tutti in luogo de fioli, 
che de sto fatto ciaschedun ve incolpa. 1 

Marco Corner, Podesta of Padua (i583), came in for 
his share of abuse : 

. . . quel ch'era si da ben 
Quel ch'era giusto quel ch'era un Gaton . . . 
Si non conosce piu ne mal ne ben 
Et e del tutto diventa un gioton. 2 

A ballad written to attack a patrician lady of the 
Dandolo family shows how the smallest trifles were 
seized upon as a handle for malignant satire : 

. . . quinterni et risime 
Vergar veggilo in dispreggio 
Su le piaze e nei circoli 
De barzelette, e frottole 
Canzon, stanze e capitoli, 
Sonetti e versi lirici. 3 

Sometimes the epigram has that loose note which we 
catch as the precursor of the shameless license in vogue 
among the writers of the decadent seventeenth century. 
The patrician Giovanni Quirini, who lived at the close 

1 Museo Civico, Cod. Cicogna, 819. 

2 Ibid., Cod. Correr, 347, p. 68. 

8 Marciana, cl. IX ital., Cod. 173, p. 117. 
vol. 1. — 16 


of the sixteenth and the opening of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, makes lewd jests at the expense of another patri- 
cian, Marco Dolfin, whose marriage with a lady of the 
Zeno family was annulled on the plea of impotence : 

. . . quel che piglib al scuro 
la Giovene novizza alia Zuecca 
E che troppo inscio, e puro, 
gia piu di sette mesi sta con ella, 

non ha potuto ancor 

Et Ella per trovarsi un buon Amico 

vuol disfar ogni intrico. 

Parecchiatevi tutti, 

chi sa che alcun di vol non godi i frutti ? * 

Among personal satires we must mention two mad- 
rigals by MafFeo Veniero, the dottorato di un nano and 
the matrimonio di un gobbo, and the caso occorso a uno 
Spagnuolo, 2 by Angiolo Ingegneri, a Venetian poet and 
writer (d. i6i3), who in the course of his wanderings 
found himself at Turin in 1678, and there gave a kindly 
welcome to the fugitive Tasso. Veniero makes fun of 
a poor dwarf who had taken his doctor's degree at 
Padua, and pointing the finger at him he declares that 
never was there seen such a doctor, for he could easily 
make a house for himself out of the parchment of his 
diploma : 

No se trova un Dotor simile a vu 1 

I altri in cima o in fondo 

Del Privilegio i a '1 nome solamente, 

Vu, Dotor ecelente, 

Ve pode far de quela bergamina 

Gasa con sala, camera e cusina. 

The poet is even more sarcastic about the marriage of 
a very beautiful girl with 

Un Gobo fato a fondo de melon . . . 
Tuto difetti e tuto una magagna. 

1 Museo Civico, Cod. Correr, 86o. We owe the foregoing citations to 
the courtesy of Prof. Antonio Pilot, who has edited with much critical 
ability several of these satires which give us a curious picture of Venetian 

2 Gamba, Collezione delle migliori Poesie scritte in dialetto ven., II, 
76. Venezia, 1817. 


Ingegneri tells us, with a considerable sense of 
humour, the story of a Spaniard who had ventured to 
pinch a lady, and received for his pains a sound slap 
on the nose from the fair one's patten : 

Pur se l'ofeso xe '1 Spagnuol, mi taso, 
E 1' 6 per cortesissima azion. 
Perche quela galante N azion 
Stimara sto favor magior d'un baso. 

Another form of satiric verse was the epitaph in 
which Andrea Galmo excelled. Some of these, the 
fruit of Calmo's playful fancy, have been taken seri- 
ously by Laurenz Schrader in his Monumenta Italiae. 1 
One of these which Schrader says existed in the church 
of San Procolo at Venice is in Maccheronic Latin ; the 
other is its translation into Venetian dialect, and runs 
thus : 

Perche voio che ognun si me intenda 

Se ben i no savesse de latin 

Son Petoloto de cha Pulesin 

E prieghe Sant'Alban che me defenda. 

The form of the sepulchral epitaph is used for pur- 
poses of banter, and they were dedicated to any un- 
lucky person whom the author desired to ridicule ; 
here is one written for a patrician of the Dandolo 
family : 

Qua iace quel meschin del gobbo Dandolo, 
buona persona ma un puoco grossetto, 
El qua! feva ogni zorno qualche scandolo 
in casa per pissar la notte in letto, 
che andando a piar cappe co un sandolo 
co' le so calze che e senza braghetto 
morite '1 Poverin fagando un salto 
co '1 naso in fango, etc. 

And another to a patrician, Molin : 

1 Monumenta Italiae quae hoc nostro saeculo et a Cristianis posita sunt, 
libri quatuor ed. a Laur. Schradero, L. Ill, p. 56o. Helmaestadii, i5o,2. 
Two other burlesque epitaphs by Galmo, Schrader says were in the church 
of San Giovanni Novo. See Cicogna, Iscr., Ill, 116. 


Son quel Molin, che feva la mia vita 
al Capello, al Salvadego, alia Luna 
in sti palui, no ghe 6 ostaria nissuna 
che ogni hora no ghe fesse qualche sita. 
Bibite omnes e magnd volintiera, 
quia venit mors e ve lieva dal niondo, 
e vos conducit al basso, e al profondo, 
ubi non est ne bocal, ne inghistera. 

And a third addressed to Giambaltista Maganza, the 
painter poet of Vicenza, which is remarkable for its 
venom : 

El Maganza carogna c in questa cassa 
Poeta goflb, e pittor da do soldi 
Fiol d'un zaflb re di manegoldi. 
Viator turate il naso e guarda e passa. 1 

Without descending to personal abuse Venetian 
satirists lashed the vices of their day, — the venality of 
women in love affairs, the shamelessness of courtesans, 
the less ascetic occupations of the nuns, and so on. 
In a Capiiolo contro i Riallini, which is followed by a 
reply, the author ridicules the manners of the Venetian 
middle class, who endeavour to imitate the aristocracy, 
in the way of dress, in their mode of life, their treat- 
ment of their women, and of their mistresses. 

We have also a ballad attacking certain maestri di 

un chiappo da filosofi sferdii 
andara st'anno alia filosofia, 

which ends thus : 

Canzon con verita che si puol dir 
cantando de sta rara compagnia 
senza ponto mentir 
Povera e nuda vai filosofia. 

In a Canzon contra il Dottor A , the three Riformatori 
dello Studio di Padova are attacked for the carelessness 
with which they select readers in philosophy. 2 

1 These three inedited epitaphs, now in the Marciana, cl. IX ital., 
codd. 173, fol. ia3 t°, 2i4 t°, 217, were pointed out to us by Profe»sor 

2 Marciana, cl. IX ital., cod. 173, vol. 77. 


We have the quaint titles of numberless pamphlets 
of this nature. They usually consisted of four or six 
pages containing verses full of sly quips, but free of 
venom, such as the Historia nova piacevole la quale 
tralta delle malitie delle donne — Canzone morale di 
Santo Herculano — Le ridiculose canzon de mistro Pizin 
da le calde aroste el de mistro Deneto che vende le lesse, 
cosse da far crepar da rider e morir de fame. 

At Rialto, where the itinerant minstrels recited or 
sang the Pianto delle Massare, with its passages of 
licentious wit, one might hear, too, the reply in which 
those maids-of-all-work band together in a conspiracy 
against their tormentors : 

Demo in prima a quel giotton 
Che sul ponte di Rialto 
Vostro pianto, o sia canzon, 
Vende e cria con parlar alto, 
Femo farlo in acqua un salto 
Chi altri s' havra a castigare 
Corre qua, corre Massare. 1 

All these poets of satiric comedy faithfully reflect 
the temper of the Venetian populace, bent on banishing 
melancholy, giving itself up to carnival and fete, and 
wont to fling a smile over the gravest or the saddest 
occurrences. The famous battles of fisticuffs, so pop- 
ular with the mob, became the theme of a mock-heroic 
poem in octave stanzas 2 ; the punishment of the cheba 
(the cage), hung from the Campanile of San Marco, 
inspires another poet, who in the Lamento di pre Agos- 
tino messo in cheba, turns the laugh against a priest 
condemned to that horrible expiation for swearing and 
gambling. He makes the culprit bewail his crimes 
and bemoan the pains and contumelies he suffers at 
the hands of the mob who mock and insult him : 

1 La Congiura che fanno le Massare contra coloro che cantano la sua 
Canzone. In Frezzeria al segno della Regina, i583 (reproduced by Men- 
ghini, Canz. ant. del pop. it., Vol. I, fasc. I. Roma, 1890). 

2 La guerra de' Nlcolotti e Castellani dell' anno 1521, a poem by an 
unknown author. (Gamba, Collez. delle migliori Poesie, I, i5.) 


Mi porgono a mangiar per un sol buso 
Con l'acqua che mi dan 'vece di vino, 
E con ragion il mio pecato accuso. 

E piu mi duol che ogni sera et mattino 
Da meggio di a tutte quante Tore 
Mi chiaman i fanciui : o pre Agostino. 

Mi danno alcuna volta tal stridore 
Che son costretto di pissarli adosso 
Per isfocar alquanto il mio dolore. 1 

In the same mixed Tuscan and Venetian and in 
similar metre we have the Lamento della femena di pre 
Agostino, the lament of Father Agostino's woman, where 
in the midst of her illicit affection and her shame for 
the condemnation, the poet has known how to intro- 
duce a note of genuine pity ; she stands looking up at 
her Father Agostino hung 

A meggio il campanil sopra la Piazza 

and exclaims : 

Piango che come uccello non ho Tale, 
Che teco ad habitar nel picciol tetto 
Pronta verrei a congoder tuo male. 3 

Among the his tor ie which, as la femena di pre Agus- 
tino says, were soldier U ponti e per le piazze, among the 
aubades, serenades, ballads, roundelays of other Italian 
districts, we find songs written in a dialect which helps 
us to realise what a babel of tongues must have filled 
the streets of the city, which was the meeting-place for 
people of every race. The various languages which 
could be heard on the piazza, at the market, in the 
shops and building yards, mingled with the pure ver- 
nacular, and produced ballads alia schiavonesca, alia 

1 Lamento di Pre Agustino che si duole della sua sorte che lo abbia fatto 
Imperator senza imperio, e messagli la lingua in giova (branks for gagging 
blasphemers) per biastemmar et al fin I'hanno messo in chebba condannato a 
pane e acqua. Con alcuni suoi utile arricordi (i548). 

2 // lamento della Femena di Pre Agustino, qual si duol di esser viva 
vedendolo in tante angustie : e duolesi di non poter morire. Con alcuni aricordi 
della donna. Co una Frottola d'un Fachin che gli da la baia. Et un Sonetto 
dip. Agustin che la cbforta. On the frontispiece is a rude cut showing the 
campanile and the cage. 


grechesca, alia ledesca, alia bergamasca, alia padovana 
(pavana), alia levantina ; for example, the Ridicule can- 
zonette del mistro Galforner todescho ; the Testamento de 
Juan Polo alia Schiavonesca ; the Frottole bergamasche de 
Peder Strazza fachin de l' Arsenal, and so on. 1 In a 
dialect half Venetian, half Greek, Antonio da Molino, 
called 77 Burchiella, wrote the Barzellelte dei quattro 
compagni Strathioti, Ifatti e le prodezze di Manoli Blessi ; 
and in a hybrid between Italian and the Bellunese 
dialect, the notary Bartolomeo Gavassico of Belluno 
(d. 1 55 5), composed a volume of popular songs, hith- 
erto inedited. 2 

This flood of dialectical verse, often trivial and fan- 
tastic, but sometimes rich in all that renders life real 
and vivid, challenges the conventional refinements of the 
Petrarchists and the followers of Bembo, and consti- 
tutes a valuable source of information on the history 
of Venetian manners and customs. 

1 Gamba, op. cit. 

2 V. Cian and G. Salvioni published a copious selection of Le rime di 
B. Cavassico, Bologna, 1898-94 (in the Scelta di curiosita lett.). Gian pre- 
fixed an elaborate Introduction on the life and works of Gavassico. 



THE Venetian government, in its care for all that 
might benefit or adorn the State, turned its vigi- 
lant attention to the question of education. It 
accepted the current principles of pedagogy, the foun- 
dation of which constituted one of the chief glories of 
the Italian Renaissance, 1 and insisted that the earliest 
instruction should be directed to instilling into the 
mind of youth the principles of virtue, habits of clean- 
liness and order, kindly feelings towards neighbours, 
and respect for authority. Under its watchful eye, 
moral training and education went hand in hand ; 
amidst the wonted noises of a classroom and the inno- 
cent escapades of childhood, 2 the youth of Venice grew 

i Gerini, Gli scrittori pedagogici italiani dei sec. XV e XVI. Torino, 

2 Garzoni (Piazza, p. 726) has left us a lively sketch of the habits of 
boys in his day: "Far chiasso nelle scuole, romper silenzio nell'assenza 
del maestro, dar dei pugni a colui che tiene la norma, far le fugaocifl 
dentro i salterii, cacciar la testa nei studi, e mangiar le castagne di nas- 
costo, giocare a piffo e paffo con la cera o a primo e secondo con Virgilio e 
Cicerone, giocare a trentuno, far le barchette da acqua con la carta, pigliar 
le mosche e serrarle nei scartocci, dar la caccia ai grilli, per farli cantar in 
scuola, portare i parpaglioni da volare, aver le piastrelle di piombo nella 
sacca per giocare, attendere a dipingere le rosette, a far dei palii da cor- 
rere, fare scarabozzi sopra i Donati, dipingere teste dentro nei Guarini, 
strappare il Cato per non tenerlo a mente, mordere colui, che gli leva a 
cavallo, dimandare d'ogni ora d'andare ad locum, attaccare la foglia di fico 
alia scdia del maestro, nasconderli la scutica magistrale, recitar fra la 
frotta dei scolari l'Ariosto, in cambio dello epistole di Ovidio, uscir di 
scuola come diavoli incatenati, urtarsi fra loro come tanti facchini, girar 
per le mura facendo mille pazzie." 


up to revere their parents, to adore their faith, and in 
simplicity of manners and habits. 

The appointment of public teachers was made not 
only after an examination of ability, but upon a most 
rigid inquiry into morals, the intention being that 
teachers should not merely educate the intelligence, 
but also train the mind of their pupils in the princi- 
ples of sound morality. This line was also adopted 
by the private tutors who, like Barzizza in Padua and 
Guarino in Venice, kept boarding-schools. 1 

But these precautions did not always meet with suc- 
cess, and as morals grew loose, their influence made 
itself felt among the teaching class ; not all of them 
brought up the youth intrusted to their care in boni 
costumi con ogni studio et diligentia, and some are even 
blamed for their negligentia et cattivo esempio. In this 
connection we have the curious deposition of Giovanni 
Foresto sworn on August 9, i544, before the Magnifici 
Zudesi de Procurator. Giovanni was assistant master 
to his uncle Stefano Piazzone, who teniva Scola de 
gramatica alia Madona delta Fava, and enjoyed a wide 
reputation in Venice, where he was the teacher of Paolo 
Manuzio and of many patricians, among them the 
brothers, Andrea and Marcantonio Minio. 2 His morals, 
however, were not above reproach, if we are to believe 
Giovanni Foresto, who accuses his uncle of having 
become entangled in a low amour with a certain wench 
called Andriana Zavatina. 3 This was not a solitary 
case ; the decree of the Council of Ten, July 7, 1667, 
obliging all teachers, under pain of a fine of five hun- 
dred ducats, to register themselves at the office of the 
Patriarch, whose function it was to supervise the morals 

1 Sabbadini, La Scuola e gli studi di Guarino, p. 26. Catania, 1896. 

2 Cicogna, Iscr., VI, 64- 

8 Pavanello, Un maestro del Quattrocento, p. 3i. Piazzone, who had 
taught sempre cum fama de octimo et fructuoso preceptore, on March 20, 
i5a6, secured a copyright for his Precepti de rhetorica. Fulin, Doc. per 
servire alia st. della tipograjia ven. (Arch. Veneto, XXIII, 206). 


of the city, is an indication that corruption had already 
spread among those who should have been most exempt 
from its influence. 

In the primary schools infants learned to read 
out of prayer books and manuals of devotion such as 
the Corona Pretiosa, printed by Andrea Torresani da 
Asola in 1527, 1 or out of spelling-books like the Libro 
maistrevole ( 1 52^) of Giannantonio Tagliente ; then came 
Italian and Latin grammar, and simple arithmetic taught 
in books like the Luminario di aritmetica, also by 
Tagliente ; 2 they read the Latin works of Dionysius 
Cato, of Oelius Donatus, of Guarino of Verona, and 
other text-books in use during the Renaissance. No 
detail of instruction was overlooked, and children were 
taught scrivere con la vivace man ogni qualita di lettere 
under the guidance of Tagliente ; we have examples of 
books on calligraphy such as the manual of Agostino 
da Siena, sumptuously printed in Venice, in i565, by 
Francesco di Tomaso da Salb. Attention was paid to 
good manners and to deportment, as we gather from 
the following passage in a despatch of the Milanese 
Ambassador, dated January 10, i4oo : " Heri se par- 
tite de qua uno prete magistro de scola, con tre putini, 
li quali due sono zentilhomeni, l'altro si e di populo : 
li quali son molto zentili puti de balare, de far prediche 
et dire in rima, et altre zentileze assai." 8 It is note- 
worthy that here we find a young boy, a son of the 
people, being educated along with two young patricians. 
We may add that Sanudo tells us that they taught virlule 
et gramatica a li zovanetti patritii et altri* The decree 
of the Senate, published in i5i8, inviting candidates 
for the Chair of Greek, explicitly states that instruction 
in Greek is necessary in order to complete the education 

1 Renouard, Annates de V imprimerie des Aides, p. 293. Paris, i834- 

2 Rigobon, G. A. Tagliente (in the Ragioniere, Ser. II, Vol. X. Milano* 
i8 9 4). 

* Arch, di Stato di Milano, Cart. DipU Yeneya, 1^90, gennaio. 

* Sanudo, Cronachetta, p. 5a. 


of the aristocratic youth and of others, and there- 
fore proves that the privileges and sharp distinctions 
which in the social sphere divided the patrician caste 
from the mass of the people had no place in the school, 
whose sole object was to turn out good citizens of what- 
ever rank. 

We may fairly conjecture that the wise principles 
which underlay the Venetian educational system are 
illustrated and in part epitomised in that excellent little 
book Lo Scolare, written towards the close of the six- 
teenth century by a Venetian friar Bartolomeo Meduna 
of Motta di Livenza. 1 Meduna' s book, which is in fact 
a treatise on the science of Education, is cast in the 
form of a dialogue whose interlocutors are three of the 
leading men of his time, Alessandro Piccolomini, Marco 
Mantua Benavides, and Bernardino Tomitano. The 
leading theory of the author is that the differences 
between man and man, whether in the physical, the 
moral, or the intellectual world, do not depend on what 
is called fate or the influence of the stars, but on free 
will and habits contracted in infancy. It is this fact 
which gives its value to education, whose business it is 
to mould natural tendencies, and to direct the free will 
to the deliberate choice of good. The author accord- 
ingly takes the child even before birth, and gives advice 
to the parents in order to insure that the creature shall 
be born without natural defects. Once born, the babe 
should be suckled by the mother if possible, and she 

1 " Lo Scolare del R. P. M. Bartolomeo Meduna, conventuale di S. 
Francesco. Nel quale si forma a pieno un perfetto scolare, opera divisa in 
tre libri. Nel primo si tratta della generatione, l'educatione dei figliuoli, 
delle qualita del corpo e dell'animo dello scolare, dell'utilita delle arti 
liberali, della memoria naturale, e artificiale, e del conseryar la sanita. 
Nel secondo si moveno e si risolvono molti bei quesiti, e curiosi, e si ragiona 
del carico, e della elettione del lettore, dell'utilita delle scienze e del modo 
dello studiare. Nel terzo si discorre intorno alia civil conversatione, alle 
virtu et ai vitii delli scolari, della nobilta, delle armi, et lettere, e si toc- 
cano molte altre cose appartenenti agli studiosi. AH'Illustrissimo e Reye- 
rendissimo sig. Alessandro Peretti Cardinal Mont'alto. Con Privilegio. 
In Venetia, presso Pietro Facbinetti, i588, 4t°, pp. 126." 


should take charge of it up to five years of age, after 
which period the child should pass to the care of its 
father or to some one endowed with wisdom and kind- 
ness. If the child is to profit by study, it must have 
natural gifts of mind, body, and spirit, beauty and 
strength, intelligence and memory, purity of thought. 
That it may grow up well, it should never be forced in 
its studies, but must acquire a will consonant with its 
inclinations. As regards the method of education two 
things are requisite, — competence in the teacher and 
reciprocal good will between master and pupil. The 
course of study should be as follows : from seven to 
ten, grammar ; from ten to fourteen, logic, rhetoric, 
and poetry ; from fourteen to eighteen, music, arithme- 
tic, geometry, and astronomy ; eighteen to twenty-two, 
ethics and law ; twenty-two to thirty, the remaining 
sciences. Meduna is a convinced advocate of physical 
exercise to which he assigns its due place in the cur- 
riculum. The existence of an art of education has not 
escaped his notice ; he has grasped the necessity for a 
logical method in the course of studies and believes 
in early training as essential to future culture. 1 

The theories of Meduna were in fact those adopted by 
the State of Venice, which, after providing for primary 
education, laid down excellent regulations as regards 
advanced studies, including Greek, Latin, — especially 
Virgil, Ovid, and Cicero, — and the greater Italian 
writers. The government turned a deaf ear to the 
fanatical observations of the Venetian Pope Paul II in 
his attack on the eresia of classical studies ; "Li putti," 
says the Pope, " non hanno ad pena due anni che 
senza che vadano ad scola sanno mille ribalderie ; pen- 
sate come se degono poi riuscire de mille altri vicii 
quando legeno Juvenale, Terenzio, Plauto, Ovidio, e 

1 Gerini, op. cit., dedicates a long chapter to Meduna, dwelling on the 
importance of his work which " h proprio tra le m ritlure cosi rare le quali 
danno assai piu di quanto sembrano promettere." 


questi altri libri." 1 So little attention, indeed, did 
Venice pay to the Papal alarm that she was early in the 
field with Greek and Latin grammars. In 1^9,5 Aldus 
printed Lascaris' Grammalica greca, and in i4o,8 Urbano 
Bolzanio's Istituzioni di grammatica greca; in ihl\o the 
Grammatica latina, by an anonymous author, perhaps 
Bernardino Donato, 2 first issued at Verona in 1529, was 
republished in Italian in Venice. 

The p iu prestanti in lingua latina and the most worthy 
del loco et professione 3 were invited to teach the aspir- 
ants to posts in the Ducal Chancery ; in the second 
half of the sixteenth century parish schools for training 
clergy were opened ; in i55i each sestiere established 
a public school to teach grammar and Latin; in 1575 
a chair of criminal notarial procedure was founded, and 
in 1 579 they created the Ducal Seminary at SS. Filippo 
e Giacomo, which was transferred ten years later to San 
Niccolo di Castello. 4 

On January 23, i5ii, the Senate passed an order 
recommending schoolmasters to use * ' omnem curam 
et diligentiam noscendi ipsorum juvenum cancellariae 
nostrae ingenia, et qui eorum apti et qui inepti . . . 
ad discendum . . . ne Dominius noster inutili et in- 
fructuosa impensa gravetur." This recommendation 
was carefully obeyed by the professors, whose hours 
of teaching were three or four in the morning (lezioni 
de mane) and a like number in the afternoon (lezioni 
post prandium) and even extra hours, post lectiones 
or dinar ias. In order to develop the faculties of their 
individual pupils the professors established the debating 
societies known under the name of disputazioni circolari, 
where the pupils discussed the interpretation of the 
classics, read essays, and handled all subjects which 

1 Rossi, V., II Quattrocento, p. ai8. 

2 Zeno, Ap., Note alia Bibl. d'eloq. ital. di Mons. Fontanini, I, 5a. 
Venezia, 1753. 

s Sanudo, Diari, XXIX, 188. 

4 Tentori, Saggio, I, ago. Gallicciolli, II, No. 1718 to No. 1739. 


had any connection with culture generally. Some of 
the patricians themselves undertook the task of teaching, 
and in November of each year, in the church of San 
Bartolomeo, a learned nobleman gave a course of lec- 
tures. No other aristocracy of that epoch can show 
us the honorable spectacle of its members filling pro- 
fessorial chairs. Those chairs were never allowed to 
remain vacant per la comune utilifa di tutta la stadiosa 
jovenfu et honor di questa cita, 1 candidates were nu- 
merous, sometimes numbering fifteen for a single chair, 
although the subject, however abstruse, had to be 
taught in Latin. Near the church of San Giovanni di 
Rialto the Republic opened an institute for those who 
voleva imparar virtute et farsi dottissimi, senza andar a 
studiar a Padoa, and Sanudo tells us that in i494 pub- 
lic lectures were delivered there by Antonio Gornaro, 
"la di cui fama in diversi studij e celebrata ; el qual 
quotidie dura grandissima faticha a lezer tante lettione, 
quanto leze in loica, filosofia et theologia." 2 

In 1^90 Fra Urbano Bolzanio of Belluno, who later 
on was tutor to Leo X, opened a Greek school, and in 
1/197 the public chair of Aristotelian philosophy was 
founded and occupied for the first time by Leonico. 
In i5oo, on the death of Giorgio Valla, who had been 
public reader in humanities in the hospital on the 
Piazza di San Marco, Sabellico 3 was appointed to fill 
his place, and in the first quarter only of the sixteenth 
century the government invited to Venice to teach the 
students in the Chancery the following scholars of 
distinction, — Giorgio Merula, Benedetto Brognolo da 
Legnago, Girolamo da Forli, Gerolamo Calvo, Ma- 
rino di Scutari, Giovita Rapiccio, Raflaele Regio, and 
Marcus Musurus. We must also record among the 
public professors of various learning Pietro Alcionio, 

1 Sanudo, Diari, loc. cit. 

2 Id., Cronachetta, pp. 5o, 5i. 

• Arch, di Suto, Collegio, Notatorio, February 10, i5oo. 


humanist and Grecian ; Vettor Fausto, a man of sci- 
ence and of letters ; Fra Luca Paciolo who in i5o8 
in the church of San Bartolomeo lectured on Euclid 
to the leading magistrates, patricians, theologians, 
jurists, and mathematicians 1 ; while the celebrated Bres- 
cian Niccolb Tartaglia discoursed on the same subject 
at SS. Giovanni e Paolo. 2 Among the learned Italians 
who sought chairs beyond the Alps we find Venetians 
like Paolo Paradisi, who about i53o was reading 
Hebrew in the University of Paris, where half a century 
earlier another illustrious Venetian, Girolamo Aleandro 
of Motta sul Livenza, 3 had filled the post of rector. 

The official teachers in the Chancery and in each of 
the quarters of the city were paid by the Governadori 
delle Entrade, a magistracy created in i433, and com- 
posed of three patricians. The salaries of the pro- 
fessors were derived, in part at least, from a Dazio 
Grammatici, or school rate, introduced at the close of 
the fifteenth century ; it was levied on government 
stock, house rent, business profits, and amounted to 
upwards of fourteen hundred ducats a year. 4 It is 
certain, however, that the students were obliged to 
contribute toward the salaries of their official instruc- 
tors, who numbered twelve in the year i55i, but were 
subsequently reduced to eight. The stipends, if we 
bear in mind the date, were far from narrow. In 
1 455 Domenico Bragadino, in i455 Giorgio Trapezun- 
zio, and in i5oo Giorgio Valla were drawing one hun- 
dred and fifty gold ducats a year, while in the sixteenth 
century Marcantonio Sabellico and Girolamo da Forli 
drew two hundred. Private tutors' fees were also high. 
In 1 544 Stefano Piazzone's school numbered about one 
hundred and fifty pupils, whose fees amounted to five 

i Tiraboschi, VI, 556. 

5 Tartaglia, Quesiti et inventioni diverse, Lib. 9. ques. 22. Venezia, 

3 Flamini, // Cinquecento, pp. io3, io5. Milano, Vallardi. 

4 Orlandini, St. delle Magistr. Venete. Venezia, 1898. 


hundred ducats, besides eight or ten boarders who paid 
forty ducats a head per annum 1 ; and that being so, 
we may imagine what the fees of more distinguished 
professors must have been, especially as they sometimes 
combined private tuition with the duties of their public 
chair. Brognolo and Sabellico, in the afternoon hours 
when they were not engaged in teaching at the Chan- 
cery, gave lessons at San Silvestro, where Egnazio 
opened a rival school to that of Sabellico, and was able 
at his death to leave large legacies and handsome furni- 
ture, the fruits of his toil. In addition to public and 
private schools, we find that private tuition in noble and 
wealthy families plays a large part in the history of 
Venetian education. If we go back to the year i4o2, 
we find a contract, dated June 27, by which Master 
Daniel of Capodistria binds himself to give instruction 
to Marco and Giacomo, sons of Agostino Contarini of 
Santi Apostoli, in return for a lump sum of twenty 
ducats ; he undertakes to teach * ■ dictum Marcum taliter 
quod bene sciet legere et intelligere literam unam literali 
sermone et ad ipsam sermone literali bene respondere, 
insuper sciet scribere condecenter, et dictum Jacobum 
taliter quod bene sciet legere Donatum et Catonem ad 
testum." 2 About the year i/j8o we know that Pietro 
Cirneo, the quaint author of De rebus Corsicis and of 
De hello Ferrariensi, published by Muratori, was living 
with the Cappello family at Santa Maria Materdomini, 
as tutor to the sons of Andrea Cappello. 3 When 
Giorgio Valla, in 1^96, was tried by the Council of 
Ten on the charge of some political misdemeanour, his 
companion, Placidio di Amelia, "homo de cervello et 
lettere," fell into the hands of Valla's judges, who tried 
to bribe him ' * dicendo volerlo meter in caxa de uno 

1 Pavanello, op. cit., p. 3i. 

2 Arch, di Stato, Cancell. Inf., Atti. Angeletto (de) Venetiis. 

8 Dalla Santa, Un testamento ed. ale. not. biog. di Pietro Cirneo, prete, 
storico, umanista (in the Scintilla, Nos. 4o, 4i, 1895). 


zintilhomo per insignar a sui fioli cum bone condition." 1 
Fra Luca Paciolo was the guest of his pupils, the mer- 
chant family of Ropiansi, of whom he himself thus 
speaks : " Li nostri discepuli ser Bart" et Francesco e 
Paulo fratelli de Ropiansi de la Zudeca, degni mercatanti 
in Venezia, figlioli gia de ser Antonio sotto la cui 
ombra paterna e fraterna in lor propria casa me re- 
levai." 2 Bartolomeo Ricci di Lugo (b. 1A90), a dis- 
tinguished grammarian, lived for many years in the 
house of Giovanni Cornaro as tutor to his sons, Marc- 
antonio and Luigi, who afterwards became a Cardinal. 
Other private tutors of repute were Andrea Menio, a 
Brescian, professor de studij de gramatica, and author 
of several grammatical works (1^97), Giovanni Aurelio 
Augurello, Giovanni Bernardo Regazzola, Raffaele 
Regio, Orazio Toscanella, Giovita Rapicio, and Fra 
Yalerio Faenzi. Instruction, free from pedantic severity, 
usually took the form of an introduction to the art of 
living. The kindly teacher was the friend of his pupil ; 
he took the youth for walks, and shared his games and 
amusements 3 ; and when out of doors he would enforce 
his precepts by his own conduct, and would satisfy the 
curiosity of his pupil by illustrating his teaching from 
nature. The young nobles, too, would sometimes 
give a public proof of their learning ; for example , in 
i5i4, Antonio Mocenigo, when barely seventeen years 
old, delivered an oration De laudibus eloqaentise, in the 
church of San Moise, before a distinguished audience, 
including the ambassadors of France and Ferrara. 4 

1 Dalla Santa, Nuovi appunti sul processo di Giorgio Vala e di Placidio 
Amerino in Venezia nel 1U96 (Nuovo Arch. Veneto, X, i3). 

2 Libri, op. cit., IV, 85. 

8 Valerio Faenzi, member of the Accademia della Fama, writes to 
apologise for non-attendance at a meeting thus: " Piacera alia vostra 
magnificentia dir all' eccell. mi Signori Accademici che per oggi habbino 
verso di me compassione se io et per obbligo deH'officio mio et per desi- 
derio di spasso vado a San Secondo con qli miei discepoli." Gicogna, hcr. t 
VI, 860. 

4 Sanudo, Diari, XIX, 278. 
vol. 1. — 17 


Many Venetians, after going through an ample course 
of instruction at home, would be sent to Padua to com- 
plete their education, which was intended to serve them 
in civic offices and in embassies abroad. 

The University of Padua, which had already existed 
for three centuries now, to use a phrase of Sanudo's, 
blossomed per la Dio gratia in bona perfection. In 
i493 the modest classrooms scattered about the city 
in which lectures used to be given were abandoned, 
and the Republic converted an ancient palace of the 
Garraresi, and, later, of the Bonazini, which had al- 
ready been fitted up as a splendid hostelry, hospitium 
magnificum, at the sign of The Bull, into a " Palace of 
Learning," which retained ever after the name II Bb. 
The work of reconstruction was begun at once and 
continued down to the first year of the seventeenth 
century, when the building was completed in all its 
architectural details, which are, in part, preserved to 
this day, though the lion of San Marco, the Doge's 
arms, and the inscriptions on the facade have disap- 
peared. When the storm aroused by the League of 
Gambray, which shook the State and emptied the 
schools of the Republic, had passed by, Venice at once 
turned its attention to the reorganisation of the Uni- 
versity. Hitherto the administration had been in- 
trusted to the Podesta and Gapitano, the Venetian 
governors, known in Padua as the Civici rettori. In 
1517 the Rettori were replaced by a commission of 
three Senators called the Riformatori dello Studio, 1 who 
besides regulating the course of studies, appointing 
professors, and assigning stipends, were also charged 
with the supervision of the printing-press, the schools, 
the galleries and museums of the State. 

The Republic granted many privileges to the 

1 The first three Riformatori were Giorgio Pisani, Darino Zorzi, and 
Antonio Giustiniau. Facciolati, Fasti Gyrnn. Patav., Part 111, p. 1. 
Patavii, 1762. 


University ; for example, it closed all other schools 
throughout its dominions, and in 157 1 it forbade 
Venetian subjects to frequent any other university for 
higher education. When the Jesuits opened a school 
in Padua and woke jealousies, dangerous rivalries, and 
troublesome questions, they were ordered, in i5o,i, 
to confine their teaching to private instruction and to 
respect the statutes and privileges of the University. 1 
The University established a clinical school, an ana- 
tomical theatre, a botanical garden whose first director 
was Luigi Anguillara, and a school ad experimentum 

The opening of the scholastic year took place in the 
Cathedral on the first of November, and every year 
Padua gave welcome to hundreds of students of all 
countries and of every rank in life. 2 They lived very 
comfortably. The richer came Avith tutors and secre- 
taries ; they rented whole palaces and squandered their 
money on women, jousts, balls ; the well-to-do could 
find a good pension at the rate of seven crowns a 
month and six for their valet. Some of the more 
serious and studious lodged with the professors, and 
Galileo himself took boarders ; others occupied lodg- 
ings kept by natives or by foreigners, and the Inquisi- 
tion enjoined them not to cucinare came nelli giorni 
di quadrigesima e neanco ne' di proibiti. 6 Poor deserv- 
ing scholars were lodged and fed in colleges founded 
by private charity. Books, which cost less than at 

1 Favaro, Galileo Galilei e lo Studio di Padova, I, 67, 86. Firenze, 
1 883. 

2 Favaro, op. cit., quotes from a manuscript in the University Library 
the following statistics : 

1 56 1 students 12 10 

1662 470 

i563 M 54i 

i564 727 

i565 720 

8 Brugi, Gli scolari dello Studio di Padova nel Cinquecento. Padova, 


Bologna, were resold at the end of the course to 
second-hand booksellers, usually Jews. By the be- 
ginning of the fourteenth century all the students 
in Padua University were united in two great corpora- 
tions, each with its own rector : those enrolled in the 
Universitas juristarum took up law ; those belonging to 
the Unwersitas arlistarum pursued philosophy, medi- 
cine, and theology. The rector selected by the stu- 
dents was formally elected with solemn ceremony in 
the Cathedral, whither he went dressed in a crimson 
robe lined with ermine, accompanied by the professors, 
by a band of music, pages, students, and the head 
beadle carrying the silver mace. He was received by 
the bishop, the rectors, and the magistrates, and after 
being capped, the University seal and the statutes were 
handed to him ; while he on his side presented the 
authorities with a gilded staff in sign of obedience. 
His term of office lasted a year ; he enjoyed special 
privileges and precedence at public functions, he heard 
cases among the students, and in conjunction with the 
syndics and councillors of the nations, he watched 
over the order and good conduct of the University. 
He was allowed to take the degree of Doctor free of 
charges, and to help to meet the heavy disbursements 
of his office he received a golden florin from every 
student who proceeded to a degree. At the close of 
his term of office his arms, along with those of the 
syndics and councillors of his year, were placed in 
the Cortile, or in one of the lecture rooms of the Uni- 
versity ; these arms were either painted or carved on 
the walls and the vaultings of the classrooms, the 
portico, and the inner loggia. 1 

The ceremony of proceeding to a degree, especially 
in the case of patrician students who were numerous 

1 Brillo, Brevi Memorie suIla Universita di Padova e sugli stemmi in essa 
esistenti. Roma, 1898. Many coats of arms were restored under the 
direction of Signor Brillo and at his charges. 


and, according to the report of the Podesta Grimani, 
gentili, studiosi et di grandissima speranza, 1 was cele- 
brated with great pomp. Take, for example, the oc- 
casion when, on December 17, 1620, the young 
Andrea Priuli took his Doctor's degree. A large 
number of Venetian nobles went to Padua, and in the 
middle of the Prato della Valle a sumptuous banquet 
was set out. "II Priuli," says Sanudo, "era alozato 
sul Pra di la valle in cha Venier; sicche fu gran 
triumpho et a li promotori soi n° 8 donb un anello 
d'oro per uno et uno becho (cappuccio) di veludo 
cremisin." 2 Nobles who had taken their degrees 
enjoyed certain privileges ; for example, they occupied 
special benches in the great Council on solemn occa- 
sions, and they took precedence of Cavalieri. The 
clergy, too, who had taken their doctor's degree were 
assigned raised seats in the choirs of the churches. 

The students, who were severe but not always unjust 
critics of their teachers, deserted the classes of those 
lecturers who failed to arrest their attention or win 
their regard ; on the other hand, they crowded to 
the classes of those physicians, jurists, and philos- 
ophers whose reputation was world-wide, and who 
were never wanting in the University of Padua, which 
attracted the learned by the richness of its salaries, 
amounting sometimes to one thousand two hundred 
pounds a year of our money. 3 

And in fact the University of Padua left its mark on 
the culture of Europe. Hellenists of the highest renown 
taught in its schools 4 ; the chair of Greek was founded 
in 1 463, and Ghalcondila was its first occupant, being 

1 Relaz. deU'anno lbbU del podesta Grimani, quoted by Brugi. In that 
year there were upwards of a hundred Venetian nobles at Padua. 

2 Sanudo, Diari, XXIX, 384- 

3 Gloria, J piu laati onovarii degli antichi professori di Padova. Padova, 
1887. The money was supplied from a tax on the inhabitants; it 
amounted to two soldi a month for every individual above three years 
of age and of three lire on every wheeled cart. 

4 Ferrai, L'ellenismo nello Studio di Padova. Padova, 1876. 


followed by Giovanni Calfurnio, Lorenzo da Camerino, 
better known as Gretico, Niccolo Leonico Tomei, 
Marcus Musurus, Romolo Amaseo. Throughout the 
sixteenth century we meet with other distinguished 
professors of letters and of rhetoric, for example, 
Lazzaro Bonamici, Egnazio, Riccoboni, Sigonius, and 

Philosophy as taught at Padua exercised a still more 
remarkable influence on the thought of the world. 
The humanistic spirit which at the close of the Middle 
Ages had not succeeded in penetrating the classrooms 
of Padua, — where averroism still reigned supreme in 
spite of the Petrarchian attack, — asserted its sway 
towards the close of the Quattrocento, and flung far and 
wide the light of true learning, first under the leader- 
ship of Ermolao Barbaro and of Pietro Pomponazzi and 
other distinguished thinkers who laid bare the genuine 
doctrines of Aristotle unclouded by commentary, and by 
insisting on the distinction between truths of faith and 
truths of reason, prepared the path for freedom of 
thought. 1 It was in Padua that, to mention only 
the most famous, Zabarella, Pomponazzi, Bernardino, 
Tomitano, Passero, Galileo, and Cesare Cremonini da 
Cento, who mounted the chair of philosophy in i5()i, 
all taught. Etienne Dolet, writer and printer (i5o()- 
i546), who was burned in Paris, acquired his liberal 
ideas from the teaching of Simon Villeneuve in Padua. 
Filippo Algeri da Nola, the precursor of Giordano 
Bruno both in his ideas and in his martyrdom, 
declared that he imbibed from the Paduan school of 
philosophy those views which were adjudged heretical, 
and caused him to be cast into a barrel of boiling 

The faculty of medicine already distinguished by 
such illustrious professors as Cristoforo Barzizza, nephew 

1 Renan, Averroes et V Averroism? . Paris, 1889. Mabilleau, Et hist, 
sur la phil. de la Ren. en It. (Cesare Cremonini). Paris, 1881. 


of the famous Gasparino, Sigismondo and Girolamo 
Polcastro, Bartolomeo da Noale, Giovanni d'Arcoli 
the Veronese, Baldassare da Perugia, and the two Pietri 
da Montagnana — the one at the close of the fifteenth, 
the other at the close of the seventeenth century — 
shone with greater splendour when in i537 it admitted 
the founder of modern anatomy, the Belgian Andrea 
Vesalius. Realdo Colombo of Cremona succeeded 
Vesalius in i542, and was followed by Gabriele 
Falloppio (b. i523, d. i563), Girolamo Mercuriale of 
Forli (b. i53o, d. 1606), physician to Maximilian II, 
and Girolamo Fabricio of Acquapendente (b. i537, 
p. 16 1 6), who taught for many years in Padua, sur- 
mised, if he did not enunciate, the theory of the 
circulation of the blood, and numbered among his 
pupils William Harvey, to whom that discovery is now 

The Universitas juristarum was not less famous than 
the Universitas artistarum, and Paduan professors of 
law were known not merely in Italy, but throughout 
Europe, and saw their works printed both in France 
and in Germany. 1 We may mention Filippo Decio, 
the Socini, Francesco Curzio, Antonio Rossi, Marco 
Mantua Benavides, Tiberio Deciano, Giovanni Cefalo, 
Viglio Zuichemo, Francesco Mantica, Giacomo Meno- 
chio, and Guido Pancirolo. The majority of these 
were not only skilled jurists, but were men of letters, 
connoisseurs in art, collectors, poets, astrologers as 

The education offered by Padua drew scholars from 
all parts of the world ; some of them became sovereign 
pontiffs, like Ottoboni, who assumed the tiara under 
the name of Alexander III, or secular sovereigns, such 
as Gustavus, King of Sweden, and John Sobieski, King 
of Poland, without mentioning the many youths of 

1 Brugi, La Scuola padovana di diritto romano nel sec. XVI. Padova, 


noble blood, such as the Princes of Saxony and An- 
halt and the Marquises of Brandenburg. In the 
world of science and of letters the name of their alma 
mater was held high by students like Conrad Peutinger, 
editor of the famous Roman military itinerary, the 
Tabula pealing eriana, Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni 
Lorenzi, the friend of Politian, Bernardino Rutilio, 
Fabrizio Nausea, Francesco Guicciardini, Pandolfo 
Collenuccio, Lodovico Ariosto, Pietro Bembo, Donato 
Giannotti, Torquato Tasso, Giulio Pace, Guido Pan- 
cirolo, Giovanni Novizano, and others. 

4 ' Ma non tutti che hanno nome di scolari e vanno a 
Padova, ci vanno per istudiar lettere," so says a writer 
of the Cinquecento, 1 and adds that the French, above 
all, were wont to select Padua, copiosa d ' eccellentissimi 
professori in cadauna sorta di virtu magnifica el illustre, 
" per imparare a cavalcare, a ballare, ad esercitarsi nel 
maneggio di qualunque sorta d'arme, e nella musica, e 
per saper finalmente i costumi e le creanze italiane 
delle quali sono invaghiti, e piii per simili altre virtu, 
che per cagion di lettere." The German students, too, 
devoted themselves to military exercises, under special 
trainers, held convivial meetings, founded mutual benefit 
clubs and libraries, and committed to a journal the 
doings of each day ; they were attached to the Vene- 
tian government, obedient to the civic authorities, but 
ready to settle their own disputes at the point of the 
sword. The Germans outnumbered the French, the Eng- 
lish, and the Poles ; during the second half of the 
sixteenth century the German students enrolled among 
the jurists reached the total of 5o83, while the arts 
counted 977.2 As a proof of the favours which the 
government bestowed on foreign students and teachers, 

1 Bucci, Le coronationi di Polonia et Francia del Chr. Re Enrico ///, 
I, 137. Padova, 1676. 

2 Luschin, Vorlauf. Mittheilung. iiber die Geschichte deutsch. Rechtshdrer 
in Italicn, pp. 20, 4o. Wien, 1892. 


we may cite the case of Melchiorre Guillandino, the 
Prussian, who succeeded Anguillara as Director of the 
Botanical Garden, at Padua; on his death, in 1589, 
he left all his books to the Republic as a token of 
gratitude. 1 

As a matter of fact, the Republic was tolerant towards 
German Protestants, and exacted a like toleration from 
the clergy, although the Church did occasionally molest 
the Lutheran students, who, in their turn, were not 
always respectful towards the rites and ceremonies of 
the Catholic faith. The correspondence of students at 
Padua, in general, and more especially of the oltramon- 
tani, cannot find words adequate to laud, not merely 
the excellence of their teachers, but also the freedom 
of thought and the charm of the place. The relations 
between the Venetian governors and the students were 
usually cordial, 2 though of course such a concourse of 
hot-blooded youth could hardly fail to flame up some- 
times into rivalries and even into armed collisions be- 
tween the members of the various nations and the 
different schools, and sometimes between students and 
townsfolk. Jealousy and quarrels were rife among the 
professors, and it is generally believed that the ani- 
mosity of his colleagues armed the hand of the assassin 
who in 1 563 murdered Bassiano Landi of Piacenza, 
reader in philosophy and medicine from the year i543. 3 

But study, to which, as a rule, the undergraduates of 
Padua eagerly applied themselves, rivalries and brawls 
which now and then broke the peace, did not prevent 
the young men from passing joyous hours over ban- 
quets, jousts, masquerades, theatricals. They tasted life 
in their light loves, their merry dinner-parties and noisy 
suppers. A letter written in the early years of the 

1 Facciolati, Fasti, cit., Part III, p. 4oa. 

2 Brugi, Per la storia della Universita del giuristi in Padova (in the 
Atti dell' Institute Veneto, T. VIII, Ser. VII, 1897). 

8 Tiraboschi, Lett. Ital, T. VII, p. 843, 11. a. 


Cinquecento gives us a curious picture of a student's 
supper. 1 The anonymous writer tells us that one even- 
ing he invited a number of students et lo bidello et lo 
nodaro dell' UniversiCa, to sup in his house. "While 
the meal was being prepared, the company, forty-five in 
all, including the host and two noblemen, passed the 
time in pranks and jests ; some danced, some sang, 
some fenced, others pretended pianzer un zudio o di 
sconzurar spiriti (to rag a Jew or to raise spirits). 
Meantime six of the guests made themselves up in 
masks, uno grando da ml Francesch, uno da fachin, dui 
da villani senza volto et dui da matello agilissimi (one 
as Master Francesch, one porter, two bumpkins with- 
out masks, and two very nimble harlequins). When 
the hour for supper arrived, the student dressed as 
Master Francesch, who acted as carver, entered with his 
crew, and announced that all the dinner service was 
out on loan, and that there was nothing to put on the 
table but a cloth and some candles, but that he could 
at least see that the guests had their hands washed. He 
left the room and came back again, preceded by two 
torches and followed by the porter, with a bucket 
on his shoulder, and by the two harlequins, one with 
a pair of bellows and the other with a basin of 
rose-water ; a third masker brought a towel. The 
guests had their hands squirted with rose-water from 
the bellows, and then they brought in the napkins, salt, 
bread, knives, and wine. JThe napkins were babies' 
bibs, which each guest tied under his chin. Grated 
bread crumbs was all the bread, and the wine was in 
long-necked narrow bottles that held hardly a drop. 
Having first served in pigeon's drinking-cups a salad 
that had to be eaten with snuffers, and after keeping 
the table in a roar of laughter for a bit, at last they had 
pity on the famished guests, and course after course of 

i Un allegro convito di studenti a Padova from a codex in the Marciana, 
cl. XL ital. cod. 66, published per nozze by E. Loverini, Padova, 1889. 


tempting viands was brought in in endless procession ; 
but they were allowed nothing but crumbs for bread, 
and it was the greatest fun in the world to see them 
trying to swallow the crumbs, half of which stuck in 
their beards and moustaches." 

On other occasions the party would get up theatricals 
and act comedies, 1 or they would meet in the streets 
and in the squares, to hear or to join in popular reci- 
tations or the serenades of strolling minstrels. The 
Macaronea secta and the Accademia cosmicana were 
probably composed chiefly of students ; they were noisy 
gatherings of an evening for the exchange of wit and 
the playing of practical jokes. 2 Tifi Odasi, the Paduan, 
who flourished about 1477, has described the joyous 
gatherings of the Macaronea secta in verse which for its 
gaiety anticipates the poem of Folengo. 3 Student wit 
appears again in the Nobile Vigonze opus, an anonymous 
Macaronic poem published in 1/490, shortly after the 
issue of Odasi's verses. In the Nobile Vigonze we have 
the story of an unhappy imbecile who is made to lecture 
in the midst of universal derision. 4 These were the 
diversions of the careless lads at Padua, and we may 
be sure that the Senatore Sebastiano Erizzo was not 
drawing from life when in his Sei giornate 5 he describes 
a company of young foreign students met together in 
1 542 to discuss gravely the principles of ethics, friend- 
ship, and the higher virtues. 

1 The Catinia of Sicco Polenton is an example of students' comedy 
(lusus scholarium). See Segarizzi, La Catinia, etc., di Sicco Polenton, p. lix. 
Bergamo, 1899. 

2 Rossi, V., Caio Caloria Porzio (Arch. Storico Siciliano, new series, 
an. XVIII, p. 25o. Palermo, i8g3). 

3 Id., Di un poeta maccheronico (in the Giorn. Stor. Lett. It., XI, 1 et 
seq.). According to Luzio (Studi folenghiani, p. 69, Firenze, 1899), the 
Baldus was suggested to Folengo by his allegri compagni di Studio. 

i Flamini, II Cinquecento, p. ity. 

6 Erizzo, Seb., Le sei giornate nelle quali sotto diversi fortunati ed infelici 
avvenimenti, da sei giovani raccontati, si contengono ammaestramenti nobili ed 
utili di morale fdosojia. Venezia, 1567. 


The neighbouring city of Venice, however, roused 
still more lively anticipations, and in letters from some 
of the students at Padua Ave see that Venice alone at- 
tracted them and fdled their fancy, for the joy of life 
was there untrammelled by study. Venice and Padua, 
bound together by intimate ties of thought and of habit, 
formed a single centre of culture and one of the most 
important in Europe. Illustrious men of learning 
flocked to the lagoons from all quarters, especially from 
Greece after the fall of Constantinople. Venetian cul- 
ture owes a deep debt to these Greek exiles, and they 
were amply repaid. During the last years of the fif- 
teenth and the first year of the sixteenth century Venice 
gave shelter to Demetrius Chalcondylas. Demetrius 
Muscus ; Arsenius, Bishop of Malvasia; Antonio, hip- 
parch of Corfu ; Marcus Musurus of Crete ; John Las- 
caris, ambassador of Louis XII of France ; and others 1 
who from the asylum of the lagoons spread the knowl- 
edge of Greek culture over Europe. Space will not 
allow us to mention more than a few of the illustrious 
Italians and foreigners who were freely welcomed by 
Venice. Francesco Ubcrti (b. i44o, d. i5i8) lived 
there about 1^82, and in Latin odes extolled its splen- 
dour and wealth ; the wisdom of its patricians (first 
among them, of Leonardo Loredan) ; the virtue and 
learning of its ladies, like Cassandra Fedele ; its courtesy 
to scholars, such as Giorgio Merula, Sabellico, and 
Giorgio Valla. 2 Hither, too, in i456, came Antonio 
Flaminio of Imola, and after enjoying for some years 
the intimate friendship of the most eminent person- 
ages, he passed on to Serravalle, in the district of 
Treviso, where he married Veturia, daughter of Andrea, 
son of Martino da Ceneda, who bore him a son Marc- 
antonio, the elegant writer of Latin verse. Here, too, 
Monsignor della Casa returned after serving as Apostolic 

1 Tiraboschi, T. VII, Part V. 

2 Piccioni, Di Francesco ilberti, Chap. III. Bologna, 1903. 


Nuncio, and here in the citta beata and in the pleasant 
sojourn at the Abbey of Nervesa, he wrote, between 
1 55 1 and i555, that treatise on good manners which 
he entitled Galateo, after his friend and inspirer Gale- 
azzo Florimonte, Bishop of Sessa. Here Luigi da 
Porto (i486- 1 52o), author of Giulietta e Romeo, after 
the wound which rendered him unfit to fight, found 
tender and loving welcome and comfort before return- 
ing to his native Yicenza. Here Marcantonio Muret, 
so called from his birthplace near Limoges, won the 
friendship of such distinguished persons as Bembo, 
Contarini, and Manutius, by his vast erudition, and 
gave public lessons in a monastery of the Minorites. 
Venice, the lover of freedom, where the Inquisition 
never raised its ominous pyres, offered a safe asylum 
even to Clement Marot of Gahors, — who under the sus- 
picion of Lutheranism had fled first to Ferrara to the 
court of Renee d'Este, — and to Etienne Dolet, who 
came to Venice from Padua in the train of the French- 
man Jean de Langeac, Bishop of Limoges, and who 
attended the course of Egnazio, in 1529, when lecturing 
on Lucretius. 1 

The complicated movement of letters, arts, and 
sciences received especially valuable support from the 
printing-press, which was already flourishing in Venice 
by the close of the Middle Ages. The press of Nicholas 
Jenson was acquired, in 1/179, by Andrea Torresani da 
Asola (b. i45i, d. i52i), who set the new art on the 
way towards that perfection which it attained under 
Manutius. Teobaldo Pio Manuzio, 2 better known by 
the diminutive Aldo, was born in i449 at Bassiano in 

1 Copley, Christie, The Life of Etienne Dolet. London, 1880. 

2 The name Pio was added to that of Aldus in i5o3, in virtue of a di- 
ploma granted by Alberto Pio, Prince of Carpi, who was a pupil of Aldus. 
It has been thought that Aldus took the noble Tuscan name Mannucci out 
of vanity, but, as a matter of fact, he did belong to that family. Man- 
nucci, Gli Aldi e la famiglia M. (See the Fanfulla della Domenica, n. 
4o-4i. Roma, 1905.) 


the Duchy of Sermoneta, near Velletri. He came to 
Venice about 1490, and at once made a friend of Torre- 
sani, whose daughter Maria he subsequently married ; 
he dedicated his wide culture and profound learning 
to the publication of works of every kind. He was, 
indeed, the prince of printers, praised, admired, envied 
by many, excelled by none. From his modest press 
in the Gampo Sant' Agostino 1 and from the more im- 
portant establishment at San Paternian he poured out 
the texts of the classics, corrected, revised, judiciously 
annotated and rendered accessible to all. Aldus died 
in i5i5, leaving his son Paolo barely three years old. 
Paolo, too, became a printer and a man of erudition ; 
he spent his time between his labours as editor and 
frequent journeys, until in i56i he founded a printing- 
press in Rome, where he expired in i574 and was 
buried in the church of Santa Maria della Minerva. 2 
By Margherita Odoni, Paolo had three sons and a 
daughter. His most famous son was the eldest, Aldus 
junior (b. i5^7), who taught in the Chancery school 
at Venice and then at Bologna, Pisa, and Rome. In 
this city he was appointed to a public chair and was 
moreover, intrusted with the direction of the Vatican 
Press. After ten years' sojourn he died in Rome in 

In the last decade of the fifteenth century Venice 
counted two hundred printers, who had issued in all 
1^91 works, while during the same period Rome issued 
only 46o, Milan 228, Florence 179. Between i5oi 
and 1 5 10, a period disturbed by war and misfortunes, 
the Venetian presses published 536 works, while Milan 
issued 99, Florence ^7, and Rome /41 3 Compared 
with the sumptuous editions which Venice gave to the 
world as soon as the art of printing was discovered, her 

1 Firmin-Didot, Aide Manuce et VHelUnisme a Venise. Paris, 1875. 

2 Mtnnucci, op. cit. 

8 Muntz, L'eta aurea delV arte it., trad., p. a36. Milano, 1895. 


press rapidly became cheap and popular in style, paper, 
and fount ; Italy was inundated by a flood of printed 
books which issued from the shops of the Nicolini da 
Sabbio, of Simon da Luere, of Marchib Sessa, Ravani, 
the Milanese Rusconi, the Ferrarese Nicola de' Rossi, 
called lo Zoppino, Marcolini, Bindoni, Farri, the Bres- 
cians Paganini and Zanetti, Tramezzino, and that famous 
family of the Gioliti, who came from Trino in Monfer- 
rat, and gave to the art those other master printers, 
Comin da Trino and Stagnino 1 ; and this army of 
printers found as clients, editors, even sometimes as 
proof-readers, men like Ariosto, Bembo, Tolomei, Ber- 
nardo Tasso, Doni, Aretino. To the refinements of 
type carried to perfection by Aldus, who, among others, 
invented cursive or italic character, the Venetian printers 
added the embellishment of woodcuts and copperplate 
engravings. The handsome French Books of Hours, 
which were scattered over Italy after the invasions of 
Charles VIII and Louis XII, especially the copies printed 
at Paris by Philippe Pigouchet anu Simon Vostre, were 
at once imitated in Venice. But the French masters 
were quickly superseded by their Venetian followers, 
who, with a superabundance of fancy, laid under con- 
tribution antique sculpture, Oriental decoration, the 
animal and vegetable kingdoms, to furnish drawings 
for marginal borders and initial letters, marvellously 
pure and delicate in design. 2 Floriated initials, head- 
pieces, margins, were also accompanied by woodcuts 
or engravings, designed by a whole troop of unknown 
artificers reared upon the models of those master 
draughtsmen, Bellini, Mantegna, Mocetto, Montagna, 
Campagnola, and Jacopo de' Barbari. As examples of 
woodcuts, we may take the illustrations to the Bibbia 

1 Fumagalli, Diet. Giog. d'ltalie, pour servir a V hist de I' imprimerie. 
Florence, Olschki, igo5. 

2 Due de Rivoli, Les livres d'heures francais et let livres de liturgie vini- 
tiens. Paris.. 


vulgare istoriata, known by the name of its translator, 
Nicolo Malermi, a monk of San Matteo at Murano, 
published by Giovanni Ragazzo in 1^90, and those 
lovely designs for the Sogno di Polifilo, so admirably 
drawn that they have been attributed, though without 
reason, to Giovanni Bellini. The Decameron of 1^92, 
and the Herodotus of 1/194, issued by Giovanni and 
Gregorio de Gregoriis ; the Livy of 1^93, and the 
Metamorphoses of 1/197, fro m the press of Giovanni 
Rossi; the Dottrina del vivere religiosamente, of 1^94 
(s. n. tip.) ; the Terence of 1/497, published by Simon 
da Luere ; the Divina Commedia, printed by Piero de 
Quarenghi ; Luc* Antonio Giunta's Graduate of 1/199- 
i5oo; the De Divina proportione del Pacioli of 1509, 
the work of Paganino de' Paganini ; Serlio's Architet- 
tura of 1 5^o, by Marcolini ; the Giolito edition of the 
Orlando F arioso, i55i, and the Cincgetico di Giovanni 
da Scandiano, also from Giolito's press in i556, are 
further examples of beautiful illustration from wood 
blocks. Almost all these books have a printer's mark ; 
the typographers looked on themselves as artists, and 
desired that some graceful design should associate their 
names with those of the authors. 1 At first the print- 
er's mark was common to all typographers, but Torre- 
sani added his initials and a tower in allusion to his 
name, while Aldus adopted his well-known symbol of 
the anchor and dolphin, representing swift motion and 
repose. 2 The shop sign also was sometimes used as 
a printer's mark ; for example, Alessandro Bindoni 
adopted the sign of "Justice," the Rusconi "St. 
George," da Sabbio the "Dragon," Stagnino "San 
Bernardino," da Trino " San Giovanni Battista," and 
so on. 3 The paper, too, had its own water marks, 

1 Castellani, L'arte della Stampa nel Rinascimento, II, 8. Venezia, 

2 I.rnsmns, Adagia, p. 119, edit. l5ao. 
8 Clastellani, op. cit. 



pato Nemorceuafo.&'gli primi aim loclnpct cl dolce 

fomno chefe hauea per le feflc& proftcrnate mcbrcdif> 

fuforelic>i,meritrouaidi nouo in unopiii dclcdabile 

firo aflai piucheel pracccdentcElqualc non era demon" 

uhorridi.&crcpidinofc rupe intorniatp.ncfalcato di 

ftnimofiiugi. Ma compofiramente de grate montagniolc dinOntro- 

po alcecia. Siluofc di giouanj quercioli, di robun.fraxini & Carpi- 

ni,&di frondofi EfcuU,& llicc.gc ditcneriCoryli.&di Alni,& diTi' 

Ik&di Opto.&deinfmduofi Olcaflri.difpofitifccondo lafpcflode 

gli arborifcri Colli, Et giu al piano crano grate filuulctiialtri fduatici 

i ... _.._ ■__ .:■...■ J 

Specimen of Venetian Typography and Xilography — 
a page from the " Hypnerotomachia " of Poliphilo. 
(Venice, Aldus, 1^99) 


called filigrane. Paper making was introduced into 
the Veneto at the close of the fourteenth century by 
artificers from Fabriano, and flourished at Padua, Tre- 
viso, in Friuli, and above all on the Riviera di Salb, 
where the paper-mills of Toscolano enjoyed a great 

The beauty of Venetian type, which was the object 
of such anxious care that Luca Pacioli even laid down 
the aesthetic proportions and the geometrical rules upon 
which the letters of the alphabet should be formed, was 
ably assisted by the perfection of Venetian type-founders. 
At first the Venetian printers were their own founders, 
but after the middle of the sixteenth century we begin 
to find in Venice those type foundries which supplied 
the founts for a large part of Europe. 1 

We may gather from all this that the book trade in 
Venice was a flourishing business. The booksellers' 
shops were to be found chiefly in the Merceria, the Frez- 
zeria, at Rial to and at San Moise, while the printers dwelt 
for the most part at San Paternian. So numerous were 
both these branches of the trade that, on January 18, 
15/49, * ne Council of Ten ordered che se debbi levar una 
Schuola de tutli color che fanno stampar et che tengono 
botega et vendono libri? The printers and booksellers 
began to hold their meetings in the church of SS. 
Giovanni e Paolo and then in the neighbouring monas- 
tery ; but no traces of the Scuola of this important guild 
have come down to our day, nor have we a single 
representation of one of those famous printing-presses 
where the Venetian workman with his quick and docile 
intelligence learned to compose and print. There is, 
however, a fine engraving, entitled Impressio librorum, 
designed by Giovanni Stradano, forming part of a collec- 
tion called Nova reperta (Antuerpiae, 1600). Stradano 
was born at Bruges in i536, but settled in Italy, where 

1 Fumagalli, op. cit., Introduction, pp. xxvi and xxvii. 

2 Brown, H. F., The Venetian Printing-press, 1891. 
vol. 1. — 18 


he died in i6o5. Many competent critics are of opinion 
that Stradano's engraving represents the interior of an 
Italian printing-press of the sixteenth century 1 ; if so, it 
is the most valuable document we possess to enable us 
to form an idea of one of those early workshops whence 
issued human thought in its new garb. 

Nor are we more fortunate as regards the likenesses 
of these early printers, though contemporary memoirs 
permit us a glimpse of them in their home life, often 
excessive in its modesty. For example, we possess 
abundant information on the domestic life of Andrea 
Torresani and of Aldus Manutius. Torresani, though 
younger than Aldus, had a paternal regard for his senior, 
to whom at the mature age of fifty-six he gave his young 
daughter, Maria, in marriage, 2 and with her a dower of 
four hundred and sixty ducats. 3 Maria, whom Aldus 
calls in his Avill, prudens, optima honestate vitae, bore 
him three sons : Manuzio, who became a priest and 
lived in Asola ; Antonio the bookseller at Bologna ; and 
Paolo ; also a daughter named Alda. Torresani lived 
in the family of Aldus, who was better fitted for study 
and the prosecution of his art than for business, and 
who found in his father-in-law not only aid in his 
pecuniary difficulties, but an acute and far-seeing part- 
ner in the administration of his press, which, in i5o3, 
bore the following style, In aedibus Aldi et Andreae 

1 Madan, Early Representations of the Printing-press (in Dibliographica, 
Vol. I. London, 1895.) 

2 De INolhac (Les correspondants a" Aide, p. 17, Rome, 1888) quotes a 
document from which it would appear that Aldus married Maria Torresani 
in the Carnival of i5o5. In a letter from Prince Piodi Carpi to Manutius 
(Vat. 4io5, fol. 107) we read: " Sp. li preceptori meo dig. mo Aldo 
Manutio de Piis Venetiis. M. Aldo mio, ho hauto gran. mo adispiacere non 
mi potere ritrouare questo carneuale ale noze uostre, si per uisitare insieme 
cum la sposa, cummo anche per honararui e far apiacere ; . . . uoy la 
confortarete pur assai da mia parte, pregandoui tutti duy insieme a uolera 
uenire fin qui, facto queste feste de Pascha, a cio ui possa uedere e godere 

cum li allri nostri amici di qua ct di questo non me ne potrette 
fare maggiore apiacere in questo mondo. Carpi, XI Martij, i5o5. — Albertur 
Pius de Sab. Carpi." 

8 Bernoui, Dei Torresani, Blado e Ragazzoni, p. iG. Milano, 1890. 

THE PRESS 2 7 5 

Asulani soceri. 1 The home life of the Torresani and of 
Aldus is described, not without a touch of malicious 
irony, by Erasmus of Rotterdam, who in i5o8 sought 
the quiet of the lagoons in order to finish his Adagia 
and to have them published by Aldus. The great phi- 
losopher found in the home of Aldus abundant food 
for the mind, but little enough for the body. 2 In the 
dialogue Opulentia sordida Erasmus obviously hints 
at Torresani, rich yet niggardly, at Aldus and their 
families, and at the company that frequented their 
house, Girolamo Aleandro, Marcus Musurus, and the 
family physician, Ambrogio Leoni. We must note, 
however, that at Aldus' table were often to be met 
Egnazio, Andrea Navagero, Bembo and Giambattista 
Ramusio, who certainly were never at a loss for a 
sumptuous banquet in the palace of some wealthy 
Venetian, and we must bear in mind that Aldus' house 
gave board and lodging to scribes, translators, proof- 
readers and artisans, as was the custom with many 
other master printers. 3 Erasmus, accustomed to the 
heavy cooking of the North and immoderately fond of 
good wine, by nature satirical, has drawn too lurid a 
picture of his host's family. Nevertheless, in spite of 
exaggerations, this dialogue gives us a vivid idea of the 
life these men led in the midst of Venetian luxury, 
devoting themselves to their noble and fruitful labours. 
Erasmus declares that he suffered from cold, sleepless- 
ness, and hunger 4 ; the house, he says, was draughty 
in winter, and in summer so full of fleas and bugs that 
rest was impossible at night. The women were almost 
always out of sight, far away from the men, and gave 
no heed to domestic affairs. The master of the house 
thought of nothing else but making money ; he watered 
the wine, bought mouldy flour for baking, frequently 

1 Bernoni, Dei Torresani, Blado e Ragazzoni, p. 19. Milano, 1890. 

2 De Nolhac, Erasme en Italie, pp. 3i-36. Paris, 1888. 

3 Bernoni, op. cit., p. 38. 

4 Bernoni has translated most of the dialogue, op. cit., pp. 4i et seq. 


giving his hands little but lettuce, and to his guests 
thin soup, cow's beef, bean-flour, and cheese as hard as 
a paving stone. Manutius certainly cannot be accused 
of avarice, and even if he did live thus parsimoniously 
it is all to his credit, for he never played the niggard 
where good manuscripts were concerned, and his press 
cost him two hundred ducats a month. 1 Torresani, 
though not free from the charge of miserliness, accumu- 
lated a fortune of not less than eighty thousand ducats, 
and when Aldus died unexpectedly, he took paternal 
care of his grandsons, ranked them with his own off- 
spring in his affections, held high the repute of the 
Aldine press, paid his associates handsomely, and it 
was certainly due to his advice and instruction that 
Paolo showed himself worthy of the family traditions. 

Beyond a doubt the glory of the Venetian press is 
due to the initiative of certain individuals of strong 
character and boundless industry ; for the most part 
they were foreigners, but they were enabled to develop 
their projects in Venice, thanks to the wisdom of the 
government which protected and organized the book 
trade, granting copyrights and safeguarding literary 
property, — beginning with the privilege conferred on 
Sabellico for his history, — and preceding all other 
states in these prudent provisions. At the close of the 
Quattrocento the copyrights became too numerous, and 
the government abolished them in order to encourage 
competition, "la perfida et rabiosa concorrentia " as 
someone Avho did not like it styled it. But the govern- 
ment approved of such competition, though resolved 
that it should be honest ; it therefore took pains to 
insure a high standard of printing and to preserve to 
the Venetian press the supremacy it had acquired. 
With this object in view the following order was issued 
in i537 : " Seeing that a harmful and unworthy habit 

1 Firmin-Didot, op. cit., p. 919. Fulin, Doc. cit. (Arch. Ven., 

XXIII, 149). 



has invaded the presses of this city, which used to be 
the best in the world, and that now, to save money 
over the paper, the most important item in the produc- 
tion of a book, the printers use such inferior qualities 
that almost all the books they turn out blot if one at- 
tempts to make marginal notes on them, and are gen- 
erally of such a poor kind that they are not merely an 
injury to the purchasers — who are unable to make 
abstracts of the contents — but also form a crying dis- 
grace and scandal to the state ... be it enacted that 
from henceforth no one who holds a license from this 
Council shall dare to publish books printed on paper 
that blots, under penalty of a fine of one hundred 
ducats." 1 Such was the severity of Venetian legisla- 
tion in the matter of the press, which the government 
always styles gelosa e importante. The whole business 
of book production — the tariff of the compositors, 
devils, pressmen, based upon the number of sheets 
printed, the nature of the examination for admission to 
the guild — all form the subject of government super- 
vision. The members of the guild had the very highest 
respect for their business ; an act of the warden of the 
guild opens thus : ' ' Gonsiderando io Francesco Ram- 
pazzetto Prior di quest' anno 1572 di quanta importanza 
sia questa nostra arte della stampa, la qual fabrica li 
strumenti a tutte le scientie et alio 'ncontro vedendosi 
per poco ordine quanti et quanto suscitano di continuo 
in essa arte, i quali, grossamente credendo che l'eser- 
citio della stamparia sia cosa di poca intelligentia, si 
fanno lecito entrar al maneggio di essa per poca cogni- 
tione et manco esperienza che ne habbiano. La qual 
temerita si vede anco nelli librari, il qual inconveniente 
oltre al gravissimo danno et vergogna a questa inclyta 
citta di Venetia, partorisce ruina precipitio et infamia 
ad essa arte nostra." 2 

1 June 4, i537, published by Brown, op. cit., p. 209. 

2 Brown, op. cit., p. a53. 


To this " instrument of all the sciences " the govern- 
ment was obliged to apply the checks required in the 
interest of morality, and on January 27, 1527, it 
instituted the censorship of the press, but its action 
was inspired by liberal ideas which distinguished 
between morals, politics, and religion. 1 The govern- 
ment was resolved that the State should never be torn 
in pieces by religious reforms, and permitted — to 
quote one example — the patriarchal vicar, accompanied 
by a secretary of the Council of Ten, to enter the 
house of a certain Zordan Tedesco, bookseller at San 
Maurizio, " a tuorne le operedi Martin Lutero stampate 
in Alemagna et mandate in questa terra a vender . . . 
e tolseno le opere havia." 2 Tamen, adds Sanudo, 
" io ne havia auto una e l'ho nel mio studio." But 
the city of Fra Paolo Sarpi resisted the rigorous re- 
strictions imposed on the press by the Council of Trent 
and the intolerant Indexes which the Church sought to 
introduce from Rome. 3 

The great activity of the press rendered easy the 
formation of libraries and the enlargement of those 
already rich in codices. As early as i^73 the Republic 
had resolved to create a large library for the public 
benefit, and to harbour the collection of books be- 
queathed to the State by Cardinal Bessarion in 1469 ; 
but the vote was not carried into effect, perhaps 
because of the Avars in which the Republic was then 
engaged, until the year i536. The delay was not 
unfortunate, as it secured to posterity the magnificent 
building created by Sansovino. The nucleus of the 
Biblioteca Marciana was composed of the manuscripts 
left by Petrarch, but the rich legacy of the Cardinal of 
Nice formed its real foundation. These books were con- 
veyed in 1^92, from the Ducal Palace to the monastery 

1 Cecchetti, La Rep. di Ven. e la Corte di Roma, p. 4o5. 

2 Sanudo, Diart, XXIX, i35. 
8 Cecchetti, op. cit. 



of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, which already possessed a 
famous library, as did the monasteries of Sant' Antonio 
di Castello, San Francesco, Santo Stefano, the Servites, 
and San Giorgio Maggiore. Private houses, too, pos- 
sessed rich collections, where the codices and illumi- 
nated manuscripts were accompanied by books produced 
by the new art of printing, and all were handsomely 
bound and lodged in cupboards and on shelves of 
carved walnut. 1 The volumes, sometimes painted on 

1 As a contrast to the richness of Venetian libraries, we will give the 
modest inventory of the books belonging to Niccolo Tartaglia, who died in 
Venice on December i3, i537 : 

"Die Iovis XVI Decembris in domo habitations infrascripti D. Troiani 
commissarij posita in confinio Sancti Salvatoris. Inventarium librorum 
omnium quondam domini Nicolai Tartalea Doctoris Mathematicorum quon- 
dam domini Michaelis de Brixia factum ad instantiam Domini Troiani 
Navo Bibliopolae ad insigne Leonis in Merzaria eius commissarij vigore sui 
testamenti rogati penes me Notarium sub die decimo mensis decembris. Et 
prima : 

107 opere del Tartaia de numeri e 

misure parte prima, et 

second a. 
i5o della terza parte. 
i5o della quarta parte in foio. 
721 Voluta del capitolo del Salviati 

in foio. 
5 Recettarij de spicieri, doi 

guasti da sorzi in 12. 
a Epistole Tulij familiar d'Aldo 

in 8. 
8 Terentij di stampa d'Aldo in 8. 
2 Lettere de diversi, libro 6 in 8. 
2 Oribasi di stampa d'Aldo in 8 

un rotto. 
2 Epistole de Tulio d'Aldo vulgar 

in 8. 
2 Hieronymi Ragazzoni in epis- 

tolis Ciceronis in 8. 
2 De Auctoritate Pontificis. 
2 Ettiche del Figliuzzi in 8. 
4 Virgili d'Aldo in 8. 
4 Richezze della lingua vulgare 

in foglio. 

1 2 a parte dell' histoire del lovio 

in 4 strapazza. 

2 Consilia Boerij in 8. 

3 Hieronimi Vida in 16. 

4 Amoni in 16. 

2 Montan in Aphorismos in 8. 

3 Libri del battizar in 8. 
10 Gioan Gierson in 16. 

10 Dialettiche Caesaris in 8. 
1 Gioan Ferneli in medicina in 8. 

1 Eiusdem medendi ratio in 8. 

2 Ordo divini officij in 8. 

3 Horatij con com. to a un li 

manca il fine in foio. 

3 Praticha Farneli una imbratta 
assai in 8. 

3 Pratiche del Valeriola in medi- 
cina in 8. 

1 Gioan Batt. a Montan in Artem 
poeticam Galleni in 8. 

1 Opera del Montan in 8. 
3 Sacerdotaliae in 4- 

2 Lexicon in greco in foglio. 

5 Almanach uno ruinato in l\. 
5 Testamenti novi in 16. 

1 Dialogo della Sanita in 8. 

1 Svetonio vulgar in 8. 

1 Marco Marulo di fatti d'her- 

cule in 8. 
1 Historia di Marco Ruffo p. in 8. 


the edges, 1 had bindings adorned with mosaics and 
brilliantly coloured enamels, which the Venetians were 
the first to use, before morocco came into fashion. 2 
Leather bindings display the same chaste elegance 
which distinguishes the bindings in velvet with ara- 
besques in gold thread and finely chiselled clasps. The 
binders of Venice strove to vie with the printers in the 
perfection of their art, and some of the volumes bound 
for the government or for the guilds, and fine copies 
of the Aldine editions display the very height of the 
binder's skill. 3 Some, such as the binding of the 
Grimani Breviary, executed by Alessandro Vittoria, are 
veritable works of art ; the breviary is clothed in crim- 
son velvet, with bosses and ornaments in silver gilt, 

I Dialogo della musica in l\. 
4 Motteti di Francesco Lupino 
in [\. 

1 Logica del Picolomini in 8. 

i Prima parte della filosofia eius- 

dem in 8. 
a Costantin Gesari vulgar in 8. 
a Summa conciliorum in 8. 

2 Epistole Ovidij con coraento in 

2 Yasoni in artem poeticam 
horatij in 8. 

2 Palmerin d'Ingliilterra in 8. 

I Marco Aurelio in lx. 

I Opera del Macbiaveli in £. 

4 Natalis comitum de horis in 8. 

lx Eiusdem de venatione in 8. 

I Ragionamenti del Caggio in 8. 

i 1 5 libri di Euclide latino 

in 8. 
i Dialogo dell* amor divino 

in 8. 
Una balla dei libri da Paris nomi- 

nata nel testamento. 

In margine : "Testes ser Michael specularius ad insignc pomi aurei in 
marzeria quondam ser Symonis. Ser Octavianus de Ripa a coloribus ad 
insigne Rose in calli ab aquis. Testibus vocatis et rogatis." Arch, di 
Stato, Sez. not., Serie Atti, reg. fob, not., Rocco de Benedetti, i556- 
i558, Vol. I, No. 357. 

1 The family of Piloni of Belluno owned a collection of books painted 
on the edges and covers by Cesare Vecellio. The precious collection has 
been sold to strangers. Venetian binding continued in high esteem down 
to the fall of the Republic. Giovanni Battista Casotti, a Florentine v\ho 
accompanied Frederick. Augustus of Saxony to Venice in 1718, talking of 
the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiorc, mentions tbe rich library, " i cui 
libri, per le pitture che ne adornano 1c coperte, formano negli scaffali una 
specie di parterre, vago alia vista." Casotti, Letlere, p. 18. Prato, 1866. 

2 'Fumagalli, op. eit., p. 484- 

8 There is a beautiful binding to a copy of Sannazzaro's Arcadia which 
bears the name of Pietro Bembo in gold arabesques on tbe cover. It is in 
the library at Parma. In the year l5oo we find recorded the name of a 
binder, Benedetto, called Padoaua. Fulin, Arch. Ven., XX11I, 171. 


and bears the Grimani arms and the portraits of the 
Cardinal Domenico and of his father, the Doge Antonio 

The families of the Barbaro, Dolfin, Valier, Erizzo, 
Mocenigo, Da Mula, Paruta, Gradenigo, Da Ponte, 
Michiel, Lollin, Soranzo, Malipiero, Gontarini da San 
Samuele, owned fine libraries ; the latter possessed all 
the manuscript and printed books which referred to the 
history of Venice, as well as many scientific and artistic 
works with illustrations, besides mathematical and 
geographical instruments. 1 The library of the three 
Manutii numbered 80,000 volumes; the library which 
Cardinal Domenico Grimani left to the convent of Sant' 
Antonio di Castello, though not so voluminous, as it 
contained only 8,000 volumes, was enriched by the 
manuscripts which belonged to Pico della Mirandola. 
Not less remarkable was the library of Bernardo and 
Pietro Bembo, with its codices in Latin and in the 
vulgar tongue, which, after the Cardinal's death, 
passed to the Vatican. 2 The library of Marin Sanudo 
deserves special notice on its own account and because 
of its possessor. It was rich in manuscripts and in 
books, and above all in a series of pictures illustrating 
not merely varieties of costume, but the ethnographic 
characteristics of the human race. Sanudo left instruc- 
tions in his will as to the disposal of his books. 3 ' ' Voio 
et ordeno," he says, " die tutti li miei libri a stampa 
et quelli a penna neli armari di la mia camera che sono 
in numero piii di 6,5oo, i quali mi ha costa assai dinari, 
et vi e cose bellissime et rare, siano venduti al pubblico 
incanto." He then goes on to say that the books 
marked with a cross in his catalogue he had been 
obliged to part with " al tempo dei miei bisogni," 
though his real intention had been to " far una libraria 

1 Sansovino, Venetia, VIII, 370. 

2 De Nolhac, La bibliotheque de F. Orsini, p. 235. Paris, 1887. 
8 Fulin, Diari e diarisii veneziani, p. xix, 


in qualche monastero, o lassarne qualcuno in la libreria 
de San Marco, la qual libraria mai tegno se fara." 1 
Prince Alberto Pio, Lord of Carpi, known for his vast 
erudition and his patronage of scholars, was in Venice, 
in i5ii, visiting his friends, among them his beloved 
master, Aldus Manutius ; accompanied by Venetian 
nobles and the most learned students of the day, — 
such as Marcus Musurus, Niccolo Sagundino, and Gian 
Giacomo Caroldo, — he went through the treasures in 
the great chronicler's library. 2 

Such homes of learning as these gradually became 
the rendezvous of all men of letters who felt the 
need to express their ideas, which expanded in 
the warm air of controversy. There were several 
of these salons of the learned to be met with in 
Venice. John Lascaris, Monsignore della Casa, and 
patricians like Paolo Paruta, Andrea Morosini, Gian 
Paolo da Ponte, Domenico Veniero, opened their 
doors to the erudite. Monsignore della Casa's co- 
terie included the three prelates, the brothers Marco, 
Francesco, and Andrea Corner ; Antonio Michiel, 
late rector of Bergamo, a man of great learning ; 
and the litterati Gandolfo Porrino, Trifone Gabriele, 
Orazio Toscanella, and Girolamo Parabosco. In the 
midst of this company appeared, in i544, Lorenzino 
de' Medici, and while their host would temper the 
weight of his discourses by reciting one of his light 
and graceful poems, Lorenzino would read aloud 
a scene from his Aridosia, or declaim his Apologia 3 
to the audience. It is pleasant to think of the lofty 
themes discussed in the home of Paolo Paruta, the 
meeting-place of all that was learned and wise ; 
or in the little entresole of the house on the Grand 

i Berchet, M. Sanudo, op. cit. 
2 Sanudo, Dian, XIII, 2C)3. 

8 Ferrai, Lorenzino de Medici e la Societa. cortigiana del Cinquecento, pp. 
338, 339. Milano, 1891. 


Canal 1 at San Luca, where Andrea Morosini wel- 
comed Galileo and Sarpi, with his faithful Fra Ful- 
genzio Micanzio, Giordano Bruno, Santorre Santorio, 
Leonardo Donato, Niccolo Contarini, Marco Trevisan, 
Ottaviano Bon, Giannanonio Venier, Domenico Molin, 
Antonio Quirini, Giambattista Padavino. 

Among these coteries in which the philosophers dis- 
cussed natural science, the poets recited their own and 
other authors' verses, the musicians played and sang, 
one is especially famous, the house of Domenico Veniero. 
We have a detailed account as to the persons who fre- 
quented Veniero's saloons. Girolamo Parabosco was a 
constant attendant, not merely to arrange the concerts 
that were given, but also to listen to the ragionar divino 
of spiriti chiari such as Federico Badoaro, founder of 
the Accademia delta Fama, the poet Girolamo Molin, 
Giovanni Battista Amalteo da Oderzo, Anton Giacomo 
Corso, Sperone Speroni, Aretino, and that huomo divino, 2 
Adrian Willaert, the musician ; besides there were 
Lorenzo Contarini the philosopher, Marcantonio and 
Benedetto Cornaro, the ambassadors Daniele Barbaro, 
Bartolomeo Vitturi, Alvise Zorzi, the Bolognese Ercole 
Bentivoglio and Alessandro Lambertini, Alessandro 
Colombo from Piacenza, Giambattista Susio, the doctor 
from Mirandola, Fortunio Spira of Viterbo, a learned 
Orientalist, 3 Bernardo Tasso, Dionigi Atanagi, Luigi 
Belegno, Monsignor Fenarolo, Antonio Diedo, Celio 
Magno, and amidst all this learning a Cristoforo Mielichs, 
a German merchant, agent for the Fuggers of Augsburg, 
and no foe to good wine. 4 In such a cenacle, where 
learning laid aside the robe and assumed a lighter garb, 

1 The house is close to Palazzo Farsetti, now the Municipio ; it is num- 
bered 4080-^090. Favaro, Un ridotto scientifico in Venezia (Nuovo Arch. 
Ven., V, 199). 

2 Parabosco, Rime, II, 54, 60. Vinegia, i555. 

3 Id., I Diporti, Novelle, p. 307. Milano, i8i4- 

4 Marcellino Valerio, II Diamerone, ove con vive ragioni si mostra la morte 
non esser quel male, che 'I senso si persuade. Yinegia, i565. The scene 
is laid in Veniero's house. 


maybe the fair form of Veronica Franco was not alto- 
gether a stranger. 

The poet Gian Giacomo Corso of Ancona, who lived 
long in Venice and died there in i555, turns his 
thoughts from the villa of Revollone, 1 in the district 
of Padua, to the pleasant meetings in the house of 
Veniero, to whom he addresses a poem that adds other 
names to those already mentioned : 

Dalla mi a donna tornarb e da voi 
nella bella citta del mar padrona, 
ch'amur pur mi riccorda i fatti suoi. 

E fa si che in oblio l'antica Ancona 
ho posto in tulto e d'altro oon mi cale 
che del Veniero e d' un' altra persona . . . 

Di gratia intanto, se il Vitluri 2 viene 

a visitarvi, quel Vitturi io dico 

che del mio cuor tutto l'impero liene, 

Fategli fede ch'io gli sono amico ; 
e similmente s'altri per lui manda 
farete al Dolce signor Lodovico. 

Se 1 Badoaro o '1 Molin vi dimanda 
del fatto mio, piacciavi dir loro 
il Corso vostro vi si raccomanda. 

Al gentil Gradenigo, 8 al Susio, al Goro, 
al Mezzabarba, 4 al divin Pietro, al INostro 
medico, proprio dal Eta del oro, 

ditegli : questa carta e questo inchiostro 

vi saluta via piii di cento volte 

per nome d'un ch* e tutto quanto vostro. 

Al Parabosco ancora, e a quel che molte 
fiate parla co i re senza rispetto 
et ha di man le rime a Febo tolte. 

Insomma a tutti, fin oltre il traghetto 
vostro, a quelle tre fie raccomandcmc 
se voi non sete, come penso, in letto. 

1 Le rime di M. Anton Giacomo Corso. A San Luca, "al segno della 
Cognitione" [in Vinegia per Comin da Trino, i55o]. 

a Cicerone Vitturi, author of a work, Synonyma, in which he calls 
himself rhetor disertissimus. 

8 This may be either Pietro, or Francesco, both poets, or Giorgio born 
in i5aa. 

4 Antonio Mezzabarba, whose poems were printed in Venice in i536. 


Di Revollone, villa nell' estreme 
parti del Padovan, verso Alemagna, 
che ne verno ne vento unqua non teme, 

nel mosto immerso il Corso clie si lagna 
et ride a un tempo vi scrive, del mese 
d'ottobre, l'anno che venne di Spagna 
Filippo nel divin nostro paese. 1 

Side by side with these private coteries rose the 
academies, regularly founded. The earliest example 
is that of the year i484, when Ermolao Barbaro created 
an academy of philosophers in his house on the Giu- 
decca. 2 The most illustrious of all these assemblies 
was the Aldine Academy, 3 called after its founder and 
chief, Aldus Manutius, who there displayed his activity 
as humanist, editor, emendator of Greek, Latin, and 
media3val texts, — in short, the whole of that marvellous 
intellectual, literary, and moral influence which was 
peculiarly his. The little academy founded by the 
Prince of Carpi was the germ whence sprang the Al- 
dine institution, which met once a week on a stated 
day to discuss literary questions, texts Avhich deserved 
publication, and the choice of readings. 4 In these 
labours Bembo took an active part, and Aldus, when 
initiating the series of his Greek editions by the publi- 
cation of Constantine Lascaris' Grammar, expresses his 
acknowledgments. 5 Among the leading members of 
the Academy, which Aldus styled Neoaccademia nostra, 
we must especially mention Bembo, John Lascaris, 
Musurus, Egnazio, Paolo Canal, Girolamo Donato, An- 
gelo Gabriele, Andrea Navagero, Marco Molino, Giro- 
lamo Menocchio, Giovanni Grecoropulos, Girolamo 

1 That is, 1 548, the year in which Philip II passed through Italy on his 
way to Brussels. 

2 The Barbaro Palace on the Fondamenta di San Giovanni on the 
Giudecca passed into the family of the Nani, and there the historiographer 
Giambattista Nani founded the Academy of the Filareti. 

3 Rossi, V, II Quattrocento, pp. i44-i49- 

4 Firmin-Didot, Aide Manuce et I'Hellinisme, op. cit., pp. i47-i5a, 

s Cian, Un decennio, etc., op. cit., p. ioo. 


Aleandro, Scipione Forteguerri of Pistoia, who trans- 
lated his name into Greek as Carteromachos, Doctor 
Amhrogio Leoni, Urbano Bolzanio, Bernardo Rucellai, 
and so on. 1 The Academy ceased to exist in 1517, 
two years after the death of Aldus. 

About the year i55o we find another academy, the 
Pellegrina, flourishing. It possessed a rich library, 
and a printing-press under the direction of Francesco 
Marcolini. Several Venetian noblemen, especially 
Cipriano Morosini, 2 lent their protection. But its 
members, among whom were Ercole Bentivoglio, Gia- 
son de Nores, Sansovino, and Dolce, did not devote 
themselves solely to art and letters ; they also assisted 
the poor, sheltered and instructed foundlings, dowered 
maidens, and succoured needy men of letters. There 
are some who, in the Academy of the Pellegrini, 
which was suppressed in i5o,5, detect the germs of 

In the year i55o we find other academies in exist- 
ence, — the Platonica, the Uniti, founded by Pietro da 
Mosto, and the Dubbiosi, who met in the house of 
Fortunato Martinengo ; the club died with Martinengo, 
after a career of three years, but was called to life 
again by the poet Giulio Strozzi, who was born in 
Venice. 3 

Paolo Manuzio, in i535, founded a society of young 
nobles, which was, perhaps, the germ of the celebrated 
academy, della Fama ; but the club came to an end 
with Paolo's departure for Rome in i538» and the 
Venetian academy, della Fama, was not founded till 
January of i558, when Federigo Badoaro (b. i5i3, 
d. 1 593) called it into existence in his own house at 
"San Cantian." We have abundant proof that the 
club was founded in i558, and not in i556, as some 

1 De Nolhac, Lrs correspondants d'Alde Manuce. Rome, 1888. 

2 Doni, / Marmi, I, xxv. Firenze, i8G3. 

' Battagia, Delle Accademie veneziane, p. 16. Venezia, 1826. 


assert ; the following passage in a letter from Girolamo 
Molin to Bernardo Tasso makes it quite clear. "A 
giorni passati," he writes, " s' e congregato insieme 
una nobile compagnia sotto il titolo di Accademia 
Venctiana (22 gennaio I558)." 1 The Fama took for 
its device a figure of Fortune, with her left foot on the 
globe, a trumpet to her lips, and in her hand a scroll 
with the legend, Io volo al ciel per riposarmi in Dio. 
The aims of this club may be better gathered from the 
list of works it published 2 than from the vague and 
quaint words of its founder Badoaro. ' ' Ho fondata essa 
accademia," he says, on the eve of his departure from 
Venice on an important mission, "alia similitudine 
del corpo humano, il quale e fatto alia similitudine di 
Dio, conseguentemente ho giudicato non poter ricever 
essa perfetione maggiore." Bernardo Tasso was chan- 
cellor of the Fama ; he had come to Venice in Decem- 
ber of 1 558 to see his Amadigi through the press, and 
in June of i559 he was joined by his son Torquato, 
who found help and support from the members of the 
club. 3 In 1 56 1, and probably in August, the academy 
of la Fama disappeared. The heavy expenses reduced 
Badoaro to such straits that he infringed the laws of 
the Republic by applying for aid to foreign princes. 
Duke Henry of Brunswick was then living in Venice 
for the larger part of the year ; he owned the palace 
which first belonged to the Loredano, and then to the 
Vendramin. Badoaro, with a lack of delicacy, applied 
to the pocket of the Duke, and failing to meet his 
obligations, the Ten "per il debito contratto sotto 
nome di accademia Venetiana et fraude commesse in 
tal maneggio " imprisoned " Federigo Badoer fo de ser 

- 1 See Bianchini, Girolamo Parabosco, p. 39, note. 

2 Somma delle opere | che in tutte le scienze | et arti piii nobili, et in varie 
lingue | ha da mandare in luce \ I'Academia Venetiana, | parte nuove, et non 
piii stampate, | parte con fedellissime tradottioni, giudiciose corretlioni, | et 
utilissime annotationi riformate. \ Nell' Academia Venetiana. \ M.D.LVIH. 
8 Bianchini, Un' accademia veneziana del secolo XVI. Venezia, 1895. 


Alvise, ser Giustinian et Zuanne Badoeri suoi nepoti 
de ser Sebastian, et parimenti l'abate Marlupino." 
On January 23, i5Go,, Badoero was acquitted; Marlu- 
pino was released without any damages ; but their 
fellow-prisoner, Lodovico Paulello, was banished for 
ten years from the city and territory. 1 

A second Accademia Venetiana came to life in the 
Cinquecento, and others called the Incruscabili, the 
Uranici, the Riuniti, the Serafici, the Gelosi, the Rinati, 
the Confusi, the Instaurabili, the clubs della Notte and 
del Disingannati. 2 

Clubs sprang into existence on the mainland also, 
and at Padua we find the Infiammati and the Eterei ; 
at Yicenza, the Costanii, the Olimpici, and the Secreti ; 
at Verona, the Filarmonici and the Astratti ; at Rovigo, 
the Addormentati, the Unili, the Cavalieri, and the 
Concordi ; at Adria, the Illuslratl, whose president 
was the Cieco d' Adria, and the Compos ti ; at Udine, the 
Sventati; at Treviso, the Fecondi, the Solleciti, and the 
Anelanti ; and so on. One of the earliest of these clubs 
was founded at Pordenone, and is famous through its 
president, that striking personality, Bartolomeo d'Al- 
viano, the celebrated general of the Republic, who 
affords us a proof that the toils of war need not imply 
the neglect of studies. In his castle of Pordenone 
Alviano founded a coterie, whose sittings were attended 
by such personages as Fracastoro. Navagero, and Al- 
viano' s faithful chancellor, Giovanni Cotta da Legnago 
(i48o-i5io), snatched at the early age of thirty from 
the pursuit of Latin letters, which, in the opinion of 
Flaminio and Sannazzaro, would have found in him a 
second Catullus. 

Pietro Aretino did not spare the academies and their 

1 Arch, di Stato, Senato, Terra, Reg. 43, c. 97, and Registri Cri- 
minali, No. XI, from which it ;i|>|>o;irs that Badoaro was tried for his 
dealings with the Duke of Brunswick. 

- Battagia, op. cit., pp. 37 et stq. 


"chatter," though with his usual inconsequence he 
boasted of being a member of several. These acade- 
mies gradually degenerated into associations inspired 
by vanity and folly, but it is impossible to ignore the 
benefits they conferred on letters and art during the 
early years of their existence. 

End of Part II, Volume I 


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