The People’s Doge: The Cultural Milieu of the Grand Chancellors of Venice

Professor Deborah Howard, The University of Cambridge and Macgeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne

Titian, 'Madonna and Child in a landscape', c.1507 oil on wood panel, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo Legacy of Guglielmo Lochis 1866 Photo via NGA website.
This lecture explores the cultural significance of the Grand Chancellors of  Venice in the age of Titian. The Grand Chancellor was the head of the  chancery, or professional civil service, in the Doge’s Palace – the one  occupation strictly reserved for members of the cittadino class. Yet  surprisingly, unconventional family set-ups were no embarrassment, because success as a cittadino rested on individual merit rather than pure lineage. Educated, wealthy and ambitious, these high-ranking figures in the Venetian Republic used art and architecture ostentatiously for their personal  self-advancement .

Professor Howard is Professor of Architectural History in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. A graduate of Cambridge and of the Courtauld Institute of Art, she taught at University College London, Edinburgh University and the Courtauld Institute, before returning to Cambridge in 1992. She has held visiting appointments at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Smith College, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the Villa I Tatti.

Her principal research interests are the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto; music and architecture in the Renaissance; and the relationship between Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. In 2005 she established the Centre for Acoustic and Musical Experiments in Renaissance Architecture (CAMERA) in the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge.

Her latest books are Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Music, Acoustics (with Laura Moretti), Yale University Press 2009, and Venice Disputed: Marc’Antonio Barbaro and Venetian Architecture 1550-1600, Yale University Press 2011. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010. In August 2011 (with her husband, Malcolm Longair) she completed the ascent of all the ‘Munros’, the 283 highest mountains in Scotland.

Date: 6.30 – 7.30pm, Friday, 9 March 2012

Venue: Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building, The University of Melbourne , Parkville

Bookings: Free but registration essential – register via this link