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Across Time & Space with a Translated Pork-Wrapped Saint: Venetian Sixteenth-Century Narrative Painting and Civic Identity

Date: 18 April 2016 (Monday)
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Venue: Room 4.34, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

A medieval basket containing the pork-wrapped relics of St. Mark holds the key to the beguiling Renaissance painting cycle at the Scuola Grande di San Marco. Venetian painting appears to undergo a fundamental change in the mid-sixteenth century transition from Bellini to Tintoretto with a stylistic rupture that has been called a “caesura.” This paper argues the contrary: the so-called eyewitness generation and later mannerist paintings are in fact united by mode. Two interrelated pictorial strategies of folded time and space allow paintings to span the centuries and Mediterranean in the same way in which the city’s patron saint had journeyed from foreign lands to Venice. Civic identity and pictorial mode model the foundational event in Venetian life: the translation of St. Mark in the ninth century.

Speaker: Letha Ch’ien

Letha Ch’ien is a visiting lecturer in Art History at UC Davis. Her dissertation is entitled Making Miracles at the Scuola Grande di San Marco from Bellini to Tintoretto (UC Berkeley 2014).

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