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Venetian traditional Golden Cultural analysis - Masks, Balls and French Influence

Updated on July 17, 2013

A typical Venetian Mask


Venice's Golden Age – Culture

Venice in the middle Ages was the center of the Venetian Republic and one of the major trading States in the Mediterranean.Currently, it is a major tourist and industrial center, known as one of the most beautiful and unique city in northern part of Italy. It is famous for its rich cultural palaces and its picturesque geographical setting. Trade, stability and independence allowed the art and culture to flourish through the centurie.

Perhaps the most famous event in Venice is the Venetian Carnival, which history dates back to the 12th century. This event occurred for the first time in San Marco Square to celebrate the victory of the "Repubblica della Serenissima". To celebrate this victory, dances and reunions started to take place 40 days before Easter and ended on Shrove Tuesday. The idea of wearing masks is to hide the identity of the various individuals representatives of the different social classes.

Veniceis known for itsspectacular architecture, which history beganduringthe Golden Age.The basic style, which is present in almostthe entire architecture ofVenice,is Venetian Gothic which was originated in 14th century. It is a combination of the use of the Gothic lancet arch with Moorish architectural influences. The main difference between the Venetian and European Gothic architectural styles is that in Venice the forms of architecture include more grace and light colour because of Venice’s setting. Because of the many canals present , which make up the main transport system of Venice, the land is very little making it very valuable to the nation. That is why the architecture of Venice could not afford to put more size or weight to support the building because of the limited amount of space. The examples of this new architectural fashion, which erupted during this time of great wealth, are the Santi Giovanni e Paolo and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Even though these churches were still very similar to other churches that were found in the rest of Italy, the difference was in the building materials. The good example would be the Doge’s Palace, Palazzo Ducale, which was the residence of the one of supreme authority in Venice. The building was designed by Filippo Calendario and constructed somewhere between 1309 and 1424. The building can be recognized as the most iconic Venetian Gothic structure that includes Gothic, Moorish, and Renaissance architectural styles. Also Venice was very famous for its Venetian glass, the ornate glass-work. The traditional masks for the Venice Carnival were also made from glass and this industry started developing during the 13th century.

As Venice was a republic during the Renaissance, the state and religious authorities of Venice supported the development of art and culture. They would sponsor massive amounts of building and decorating. Many private abodes had to have grand facades on at least two sides, since they can be seen from the water as well as land so that the people on the street could see the immense wealth of the owner of the building and his or hers love of art and architecture. To the present day, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities on earth because of this building movement.

Considering the religion of Venice, The Evangelist Saint Mark is the patron saint of Venice and is also placed under the protection of the Virgin Mary and of her son, Jesus Christ. Many churches and building in Venice would have been built with attached statues or carvings of the patron saint – Saint Mark. The most famous church of Venice, which is still standing today is the Church Santa Maria Salute. It is named after the mother of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the protector of Venice.

Considering the language of Venice, In Venice people spoke Venetian, which is a Roman language. However, it is more referred to be called as an Italian dialect. It is known as a written language since the thirteenth century and as a literary language Venetian was overshadowed by the Dante's Tuscan "dialect" and the French languages.


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    • Mathewson profile image

      Andro Mathewson 5 years ago from Germany

      I'm glad you like the Hub. Venice's history is truly amazing, yet somewhat unknown. I believe Mardi Gras masks are relating indirectly to Venetian masks. Thanks for the comment.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 5 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      This is a fascinating history. I wonder if the masks of Venice are the origin of the masks of Mardi Gras as it is celebrated in New Orleans today. And I'd love to see some photos of the architecture, especially contrasting Venetian gothic with European gothic.