Theses Doctoral

Camillo Trevisan’s Palace and Villa Culture on the Island of Murano

Tolstoy, Irina

Located on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon, the suburban palace built for the celebrated orator Camillo Trevisan and its lavish decorations were completed in the 1550s by a team of artists that included Alessandro Vittoria, Paolo Veronese, and Battista Zelotti. As only a handful of documents relating to the project have survived, scholars have sifted through the stylistic evidence to propose various attributions for the authorship of the building and its decorations, and many questions remain unresolved. Impeded by the building’s poor state of preservation and the difficulty of accessing this private property, studies have offered only partial readings of the extensive decorative program, much of which has been removed, lost, or destroyed. This investigation will therefore look at the project through a lens provided by written materials of the time, including treatises, commentaries, and published correspondence, and analyze the visual and physical evidence offered by the building itself. Eyewitness accounts and this limited selection of evidence allow us to reconstruct the original appearance of the palace and the function of its gardens, and propose how they allowed the patron Camillo to participate in the culture of suburban villeggiatura that flourished on Murano during the sixteenth century. Finally, some new information on Camillo prompts a recasting of the palace and its iconographic program within the context of the growing Venetian printing industry and the emergence of organizations like the Accademia della Fama to which the patron belonged. This study argues that, as a suburban residence built for an eloquent orator, Palazzo Trevisan and its decorative program were conceived to address an elite audience that engaged in the contemporary discussion of rhetorical structure and oratorical eloquence as models for the invention and reception of architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Cole, Michael
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 30, 2019