CONF Sep 18, 2023

The Venetian Mediterranean as a cultural & artistic space (Cambridge, 14 Oct 23)

Jesus College, University of Cambridge, Oct 14, 2023

Georgios Markou

Stato da Mar: The Venetian Mediterranean as a cultural and artistic space.

Over the past quarter century, the study of the ‘Venetian Mediterranean’ – tracking the broader field of Early Modern Mediterranean Studies – has grown into a thriving interdisciplinary area of research. The older emphasis on the Venetian maritime territories – or Stato da Mar, in contradistinction to the Terraferma – as a trade-driven archipelago (exemplified by Frederic Lane’s Venice: Maritime Republic, 1973), has been extended by scholarship on their rich social and cultural composition. Influential studies around the turn of the Millennium established the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean within the Venetian visual imagination and, conversely, situated the cultural experience of the maritime dominions firmly within the frameworks of hybridity and post-colonial studies. More recent studies have exploited the Venetian archives as a uniquely rich documentary record to reconstruct and explore the historical experience of individual Mediterranean subjects of the Serenissima, emphasizing identity as a fluid and negotiated quality. Twentieth-century national historiographies have given way to an appreciation of the Stato da Mar as a multi-polar cultural space.

If Venetian rule was projected in the built environment through gates, loggias, clock towers, fortifications, and numerous Lions of St Mark, its umbrella also facilitated high levels of mobility and cosmopolitanism that reached beyond the metropole. Growing up in Venetian Candia, El Greco would have been exposed not only to paintings by leading Venetian artists, but also to sculpture in Heraklion cathedral by a Parisian mason. The towns and cities of the Stato da Mar preserved their own worldviews and foundation legends, frequently articulated through the cult of saints and associated with substantial monuments from antiquity.

The present conference brings together leading scholars who have explored diverse aspects of the Stato da Mar in their publications, deploying different approaches and sources. While making no claims for comprehensive coverage, the programme seeks to capture a snapshot of current research (encompassing literature, libraries, antiquarianism, food, and music alongside the visual arts and built environment).

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10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-10:40 Welcome - Mary Laven

10:40-11:00 Introduction - Donal Cooper & Georgios Markou

SESSION I chaired by Mary Laven

11:00-11:30 “Corn, Coffee, Cacao: Foodways in Flux in the Early Modern Stato da Mar” - Eric Dursteler

11:30-12:00 “Sound Empire: Laudes in the Stato da Mar” - Jamie Reuland

12:00-12:20 Discussion

12:20-14:00 Lunch Break

SESSION II chaired by Donal Cooper

14:00-14:30 “Fluctuating and floating architectural culture of the Eastern Adriatic in the 15th century” - Jasenka Gudelj

14:30-15:00 “Gods, Lions and Antiquities: Strategies of Colonial Archaeology in Venetian Cyprus and Crete” - Lorenzo Calvelli

15:00-15:20 Discussion

15:20-15:50 Coffee break

SESSION III chaired by Peter Humfrey

15:50-16:20 “Alexandria in the Venetian Imagination” - Deborah Howard

16:20-16:50 “Outside In: The Stato da Mar Floats into Piazza San Marco” - Sarah Blake McHam

16:50-17:00 Break

KEYNOTE introduced by Georgios Markou

17:00-18:00 “Venice Outside Venice: A Fortified Empire of Fragments”
Patricia Fortini Brown

18:00-19:30 Reception

CONF: The Venetian Mediterranean as a cultural & artistic space (Cambridge, 14 Oct 23). In:, Sep 18, 2023 (accessed Sep 30, 2023), <>.