“Visualizing the Promise to the Serenissima in Venetian Fourteenth-Century Illuminated Documents: Image, Text, and Ritual,”

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This essay analyzes the relationship between texts and images in fourteenth-century promissioni ducali (promises of the doges) and the capitolari de’consiglieri del doge (bye-laws of the doge’s councilors) and traces the continuity and change of the imagery during the century in which illuminations to these types of Venetian documents are first found. Firstly, it is argued that the imagery stressed the importance of observing the oath and of the moral character of the person holding the office of doge or councilor. Secondly, it is suggested that there were no great variations in the compositions and iconography of the miniatures, but that there was a tendency to devote more space on the page to ducal and councilor portraits and, in promissioni, to objects displaying familial affiliation, in later illuminated documents than in earlier ones. Thirdly, it is argued that the fourteenth-century images in Venetian illuminated documents reflected the broader context in which they played a part. In the case of the promissioni, there are motifs drawn from ducal inauguration ceremonies and parallels to the imagery of monumental paintings in the Doge’s Palace. Finally, it is suggested that the texts, images and rituals associated with the doge and his councilors could be understood as depicting the ideal of the subordination of individual interests to the advantage of the republic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIlluminierte Urkunden : Beiträge aus Diplomatik, Kunstgeschichte und Digital Humanities,
EditorsMarkus Gneiß, Gabriele Bartz
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationGöttingen
PublisherVandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Publication date2019
Article number319
ISBN (Print)9783412515348
ISBN (Electronic) 9783412512385
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesBeihefte zum Archiv für Diplomatik, Schriftgeschichte, Siegel- und Wappenkunde

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