Skip to main content Accessibility help

Venice, print, and the early modern icon


Venetian printmakers in the sixteenth century were enthusiastic participants in what became a project of civic self-promotion as they looked beyond the local market to an international one. In response to the fascination of foreigners who marvelled at the city's singular topography and its reputation for liberty and licentiousness, the bird's-eye view and images of local social types – such as the doge and courtesan – became transmuted into icons of the city's urban identity. The medium and modes of representation used to reproduce the republic's social and physical organization on paper are crucial here, for it was the repetition and sedimentation of visual conventions that forged iconicity. Venice was redefined as a centre in which all the world could be seen. And the mechanisms for this redefinition, as this article argues, emerged, in part, out of print, for it was because the city could be seen from the eye of a bird, on paper as an image, by foreigners – that it could be re-envisioned from the outside in.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Urban History
  • ISSN: 0963-9268
  • EISSN: 1469-8706
  • URL: /core/journals/urban-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Multimedia site

Urban Icons
Urban Icons Aug 10, 2006 Final version

 Unknown (308.7 MB)
308.7 MB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed