The Doge's palace in Venice
New knowledge is expected from Andrea Lermer's work
Der gotische Dogenpalast in Venedig. Baugeschichte und Skulpturenprogramm des 'Palatium Comunis Veneciarum'
Capital (19th century copy), December 2004
All ground floor capitals were replaced by good copies during the extensive restoration campaign by Annibale Forcellini at the end of the 19th century. During the intervention, the façade was secured by a massive wooden substruction. 5
. Today, the old medieval capitals are exposed in ground floor rooms used by the museum - a very intelligent effort, as they are still visible from outside through the windows.
Ponte della Paglia corner (19th century copy), December 2004
Capital detail (19th century copy), December 2004
First floor gallery towards St. Mark's church, from: John Ruskin, The Stones Of Venice, London 1851
The Doge's palace has few in common with private or government palaces built in the same time in other italian cities. While the predecessor palace by Ziani still had partially elements of a fortress, the character of the current building with its two galleries is much different. The last relict that served a military purpose, a tower that is visible on Jacopo de'Barbari's map, was pulled down later. The merlons above the roof cornice - and later the Porta della Carta
as well - are explicitly intended as decorative elements. Courtyard walls of later 15th century private palaces, like Palazzo Soranzo van Axel
or, still in good state, Palazzo Marcello
, show similar merlons in brickwork. In contrast to cities like Siena, Venice was always protected by water. In fact, this was the founding myth of the city. The open architecture of the Doge's palace therefore was a political programme: The Venetian Republic does not need a fortress as it is never attacked materialiter
; all conflicts are solved via diplomacy. This is not a pure modern interpretation of the architecture: the polemic discurse held in the 16th century when the building of Sanmicheli's San Andrea
fortress (north of the Lido) was in question proves that the absence of military buildings was intended. In fact, the Forte di San Andrea
was unnecessary from a military point of view.
Story of the Doge's palace
The fire of 1577 and the eastern wing
5 cf. Franzoi, Umberto (a cura di): Il Palazzo Ducale di Venezia, Treviso 1990