Venice as Urban Spectacle

Fall 2019

VMS | ARTHIST 290s

Kristin L. Huffman

Th 11:45am-2:15 | Smith, Bay 11, A233

Venice was a city unlike any in the world. Floating in the middle of a lagoon, the built and natural environments interlaced, making a magical impression on the many tourists who arrived from all over the world. This was especially true for seventeenth and eighteenth-century visitors who would arrive for Carnival and other festivities as part of the Grand Tour. At such moments, all the city became a stage—the greatest drawing room in Europe. This course considers how the city’s self-fashioned image reinforced its status as a world apart. In particular, through spectacles and ritual public display, a myth of Venice was promoted that attracted a steady flow of visitors arriving to the city from the Early Modern period onward to the present day. How then do we separate the idea of Venice as an urban phenomenon with the notion of Venice as urban spectacle or more recently, Venice as a museum? In addition to providing a strong art historical foundation, this course will introduce digital tools that permit students to interrogate the historical context in new ways through narrative and/or 3D visualizations.

Codes: ALP, CZ, CCI