Venice, Tenochtitlan, and the Construction of Global Empire

15 Apr




Daniel Savoy, Assistant Professor of Art History, Manhattan College

Wednesday, April 29, 6:30 pm

New York University Department of Art History

Silver Center, Room 301

100 Washington Square East (entrance on Waverly Place)

The classicizing architecture of sixteenth-century Venice has long been thought to express the city’s desire to become a new Rome.  A close look at the reception of the New World in contemporary Venetian architectural discourse, however, suggests that Venice’s cultural ambition was not to become one other city, but rather to be seen as an ideal amalgam of many of the world’s cities – past, present, and future – and by extension the nucleus of a divinely pre-ordained global empire.  Venetian architectural texts, maps, and travelogues likened Venice to Tenochtitlan, yet condemned the Aztec city-state for its savagery and false religion.  Through such distinctions, the Venetians absorbed the Amerindian capital into their idealizing multicultural image, strengthening their bid to regain power on the world stage following their crippling defeat in the War of the League of Cambrai (1508-16).

— Free and open to the public –


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