Architecture and the Urban as a Metaphor of Governance: Paolo Paruta and the Spatiality of Venice in the Late Sixteenth Century

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Conference Proceeding
Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, 2007, pp. 1 - 12
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Vitruvius text, De architectura, described the practice of architecture and urban strategies for the late Roman Republic. Later use of the text and its messages, emerging with the growing impact of printing on specific changes in power relations associated with governance of cities, provided the opportunity for a politicized agenda to be incorporated to appease these differing contexts. It was during the Renaissance that Vitruvius and other antique authorities were employed in discourses on citizenry where architecture s attributes were used to reinforce ideals of good governance in the emerging urbanity of city-states. This paper investigates Paolo Paruta s Della perfettione della vita politica, a work of sixteenth-century political theory on the Venetian Republic, to examine how politically inspired uses of Vitruvius concepts supported the survival of Venice s model of a republic. Paolo Paruta was to become Procuratore of San Marco in 1597. Fundamental to his validation of Venetian governance was Vitruvius representation of the body-of-state being reflected in the architectural make-up of the city.
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