Title

Inimitable Lines, Inimitable City: Jacopo de’Barbari’s View of Venice

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Maps are very rarely ever just maps. Whether they communicate sophistication, serve as political propaganda, or simply show the interests of their owners, most serve a function beyond wayfinding or home decor. Jacopo de’ Barbari’s View of Venice is no exception. Measuring a mammoth 5 feet by 10 feet, this oversized woodblock print is one of the largest produced during the Italian Renaissance. Most scholarship has focused on the map’s composition, how it may have been surveyed, or in comparing it to other maps of the era. However, very little attention has been given to placing this print in the proper cultural context of the world of Venetian printmaking and its web of official privileges, rivalries, and forgeries. On its face, the map is obvious Venetian propaganda, meant to tap into the city’s pride and belief in its own mythical divine favor. However, viewed in light of the rampant illicit counterfeiting of prints and printed items, lax protections for individual designers, and the often nepotistic system used to ensure exclusive printing rights, de’Barbari’s View of Venice becomes something more than a larger-than-life map: it becomes an irreproducible work of art designed to frustrate counterfeiters by its multi-block design, exacting registration, and massive size. From the carving of minute details to the equipment needed to create it, de’Barbari has ensured his print would be nearly impossible to copy, either in woodblock print or plate etching, while also showing his mastery of the art of printmaking.

Presenting Author Name/s

Dee Moses

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Anne Muraoka

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Session Title

Art History 1: Art at Work

Location

Zoom Room G

Start Date

3-20-2021 10:00 AM

End Date

3-20-2021 10:55 AM

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Mar 20th, 10:00 AM Mar 20th, 10:55 AM

Inimitable Lines, Inimitable City: Jacopo de’Barbari’s View of Venice

Zoom Room G

Maps are very rarely ever just maps. Whether they communicate sophistication, serve as political propaganda, or simply show the interests of their owners, most serve a function beyond wayfinding or home decor. Jacopo de’ Barbari’s View of Venice is no exception. Measuring a mammoth 5 feet by 10 feet, this oversized woodblock print is one of the largest produced during the Italian Renaissance. Most scholarship has focused on the map’s composition, how it may have been surveyed, or in comparing it to other maps of the era. However, very little attention has been given to placing this print in the proper cultural context of the world of Venetian printmaking and its web of official privileges, rivalries, and forgeries. On its face, the map is obvious Venetian propaganda, meant to tap into the city’s pride and belief in its own mythical divine favor. However, viewed in light of the rampant illicit counterfeiting of prints and printed items, lax protections for individual designers, and the often nepotistic system used to ensure exclusive printing rights, de’Barbari’s View of Venice becomes something more than a larger-than-life map: it becomes an irreproducible work of art designed to frustrate counterfeiters by its multi-block design, exacting registration, and massive size. From the carving of minute details to the equipment needed to create it, de’Barbari has ensured his print would be nearly impossible to copy, either in woodblock print or plate etching, while also showing his mastery of the art of printmaking.