Venetians and Greeks - The 16th Century previous 2/5 next

The sixteenth-century Arsenal debate II

The pursuit of a new austerity accompanied concrete projects and intellectual reflections. A close friend of Daniele Zen, the author of Vitruvio, Daniele Barbaro, recorded in 1566 that 'there is no greatness in the profusion of marbles, or magnificence and pride in the materials used by the ancients in their buildings, because the excellence of the Venetians lies in other things'1. During the year 1579 the Provveditore of the Arsenale , Marc'Antonio Barbaro, managed to halt the first project for the new 'Corderie'  ('rope-factory') which had already been approved by the Collegio , arguing that it had been designed 'more for appearance than for convenience or service'2. Finally, it seems that while it was considered essential to affix decorations to the guns of the ships, the sterns of the galleys  - as decreed the Senate  in 1549 - were only allowed to be decorated for the paltry sum of thirty ducats for the General Sea Captain , twenty for the Provveditori of the Fleet , and fifteen ducats for the Commander of the sea ('capi da mar').

1 'non vi sia grandezza per la copia di marmi et per la magnificenza et superbia della materia che usavano gli antichi negli edifici loro, perché questa eccellenza hanno (i viniziani) in altre fabbriche loro'
2 'più tosto all'apparentia che al commodo e al servitio'

start toc back

previous 2/5 next

Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
© 1996 by the VENIVA consortium