Venetians and Greeks - The 16th Century previous 3/5 next

Techniques and knowledge

In the course of the sixteenth century, not only did there develop around the Arsenale  a philosophy harking back to the austerity of the ancients, a product of the crisis in the Venetian patrician classes, but there also emerged an ideology of practice, technique, and execution which would mark the education and attitudes of supervisors until the fall of the Republic. In the years from 1525-1550 the Arsenale experienced the failure of the humanistic experiments of Vettor Fausto, who had tried to introduce the concept of naval architecture for the first time to Venice and the Western world in theoretical anticipation of its practical execution. A crucial factor in Fausto's attempt to establish this new discipline was the use of mathematics, which alone could coordinate and unite the specialised knowledge of different masters. The construction work going on within the Arsenale continued to be coordinated and directed by a 'proto'  ('superintendent') from the artisan corporations. Another attempt destined for failure was the decison to entrust all public building in the city to a single 'proto'. Thus Antonio da Ponte's experiment too remained an isolated experiment, never to be repeated. Da Ponte was 'proto' of the 'Magistracy of Salt' , and between 1575 and 1590 was active in the Arsenale where he served as its building superintendent or 'proto'.

start toc back

previous 3/5 next

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