THE EVOLUTION OF LANDSCAPE IN VENETIAN PAINTING, 1475-1525.
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.
Landscape painting assumed a new prominence in Venetian painting between the late fifteenth to
early sixteenth century: this study aims to understand why and how this happened. It begins by
redefining the conception of landscape in Renaissance Italy and then examines several ambitious
easel paintings produced by major Venetian painters, beginning with Giovanni Bellini’s (c.1431-
36-1516) St. Francis in the Desert (c.1475), that give landscape a far more significant role than
previously seen in comparable commissions by their peers, or even in their own work.
After an introductory chapter reconsidering all previous hypotheses regarding Venetian
painters’ reputations as accomplished landscape painters, it is divided into four chronologically
arranged case study chapters. Three of these focus on the artists identified during their own
lifetimes as specialists in landscape painting in northern Italy—Tiziano Vecellio (c.1485-90-
1576), Girolamo Savoldo (fl.1506-48), and Dosso Dossi (c.1486-1542). Working from a more
historicized definition of landscape, my study shifts focus from questions of landscape’s origins
and status to a more nuanced examination of its function in private residences. Bellini’s St.
Francis is considered anew in light of humanist-inspired aesthetics as a precursor to Venetian
poesie that celebrated an artistically self-conscious approach to image-making. Titian’s youthful
Flight into Egypt (c.1507) is analyzed for the first time in regard to its original presentation in the
main reception hall of its patron Andrea Loredan’s palace. Savoldo’s Temptation of St. Anthony
(c.1520) is reconsidered, on the basis of unpublished technical analysis, as a document of the
artist’s presence in Venice and his adaptation of Flemish landscape to suit the tastes of local
clients. Finally, a reevaluation of Dosso’s Jupiter Painting Butterflies centering on the landscape
and its theoretical implications is proposed. Dosso’s painting of atmospheric phenomena
embodies theories published decades later advocating painting’s superiority over sculpture and
the painter’s god-like ability to portray all of Nature’s creation. These focused analyses suggest
that landscape achieved a new position in Venice from 1475-1525. Ultimately, this dissertation
proposes that the goals of virtuoso landscape painting were two-fold: to enhance both the
doctrinal message and delight audiences absorbed from a picture.
University of Pittsburgh ETD
||29 May 2014
||7 April 2014
||29 May 2014
||16 April 2014
||29 May 2014
||5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
|Number of Pages:
||University of Pittsburgh
|Schools and Programs:
||Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
||PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
||landscape painting, Venice, collecting
||29 May 2014 15:17
||15 Nov 2016 14:19
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