Venice Illuminated Power and Painting in Renaissance Manuscripts Helena Katalin Szépe

Publication date:
24 Apr 2018
Yale University Press
400 pages: 270 x 216mm
225 color + 25 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

For patricians in the Republic of Venice, paintings in manuscripts marking their appointment to high office expressed a tension between selfless service and individual ambition. Originally of value in confirming and instructing an elected officer, these unique documents were transformed through art into enduring monuments promoting state ideals, individual status, and family memory. This book introduces the reader to a long-hidden world of beautiful and complex images, and to tales of personal sacrifice, political maneuvering, and family intrigue. Analysis of these small paintings within books opens up new perspectives on canonical works by such artists as Giovanni Bellini, Titian, and Veronese, as well as on tomb sculptures and public memorials. Extensive original material on artistic patronage in Venice and its territories abroad encourages an expanded understanding of art in the service of the state and of Venice as empire. 

Helena Katalin Szépe is associate professor of art history in the School of Art and Art History at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

“An important contribution to the wider history of the art and culture of Renaissance Venice, the book is also highly informative about a range of related topics [. . .] It is to be hoped that Yale University Press will continue its tradition of producing art-historical books of such elegant design and excellent scholarship.” —Peter Humfrey, The Burlington Magazine

Winner of The 2019 Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Best Book Prize in Renaissance Venetian Studies, sponsored by the Renaissance Society of America

Recipient of the 2019 Helen & Howard R. Marraro Prize, sponsored by the American Historical Association