Green Worlds of Renaissance Venice

By (author) Jodi Cranston

Hardback - £71.95

Publication date:

04 March 2019

Length of book:

228 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271082028

From celebrated gardens in private villas to the paintings and sculptures that adorned palace interiors, Venetians in the sixteenth century conceived of their marine city as dotted with actual and imaginary green spaces. This volume examines how and why this pastoral vision of Venice developed.

Drawing on a variety of primary sources ranging from visual art to literary texts, performances, and urban plans, Jodi Cranston shows how Venetians lived the pastoral in urban Venice. She describes how they created green spaces and enacted pastoral situations through poetic conversations and theatrical performances in lagoon gardens; discusses the island utopias found, invented, and mapped in distant seas; and explores the visual art that facilitated the experience of inhabiting verdant landscapes. Though the greening of Venice was relatively short lived, Cranston shows how the phenomenon had a lasting impact on how other cities, including Paris and London, developed their self-images and how later writers and artists understood and adapted the pastoral mode.

Incorporating approaches from eco-criticism and anthropology, Green Worlds of Renaissance Venice greatly informs our understanding of the origins and development of the pastoral in art history and literature as well as the culture of sixteenth-century Venice. It will appeal to scholars and enthusiasts of sixteenth-century history and culture, the history of urban landscapes, and Italian art.

“This wide-ranging exploration of the green world, pastoral, or ‘second nature’ of Venice helps rethink the complex and intricate world of pastoral, its production, and its experience. From palace and villa gardens to paintings, eclogues and plays, and sculptural figures, Jodi Cranston sets out the fictional and the actual modes of pastoralism in the light of both contemporary writers and modern critics who have extended their versions of pastoral.”

—John Dixon Hunt, author of A World of Gardens