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Assessing the Venetian Artists of the Sette Maniere

Posted By Maria Aresin, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As early as 1557 Ludovico Dolce foresaw the end of the great Venetian painting tradition that he believed had reached the apex of innovation and quality with the achievements of Titian. At the conclusion of Dolce’s Dialogo della Pittura Aretino gives voice to this worry: “E di presente io temo, che la Pittura non torni a smarrirsi un’altra volta: percioche de’ giovani non si vede risorgere alcuno, che dia speranza di dover pervenire a qualche honesta eccelllenza...” Dolce’s proclamation of the end of what later became known as the golden period of Venetian Renaissance painting was also expressed by a number of writers after him, cementing the idea that subsequent to the deaths of Titian (1576), Veronese (1588) and Tintoretto (1594), Venetian painting fell into sharp decline.

The panel seeks to break with the rhetorical trope of the death or Crisis of the Venetian Renaissance Tradition (Rosand) by focusing on the group of seven artists active in the first half of the Seicento described by the art critic Marco Boschini in his Breve Instruzione of the 1674 edition of Le ricche minere:
“Da questi gran Maestri dell’Arte sono poi derivati infiniti Pittori di moltissima stima, ed in particolare ce ne sono al numero di sette, che hanno osservate le pedate di tre, cioè di Tiziano, del Tintoretto e di Paolo Veronese, e per questa cagione tengono molta simpatia fra di loro. Il Primo è Giacomo Palma il Giovine (così chiamato a distinzione del Vecchio); il secondo Leonardo Corona da Murano; il terzo Andrea Vicentino; il quarto Santo Peranda; il quinto Antonio Aliense; il sesto Pietro Malombra; il settimo Girolamo Pilotto. Molte volte, chi non è pratico del loro operare non è così pronto a farne di essi la distinzione.”

Almost completely neglected by art history, Boschini coined the term Sette Maniere for these painters, grouping these individuals together due to the fact that their works were very difficult to distinguish from one another.

The panel will consider counter-arguments to the accepted judgment of the abrupt end of the Venetian painting legacy at the end of the Cinquecento, and seeks to instead promote the idea of a continuity in the Venetian tradition in the Seicento. By focusing on the understudied, yet prolific group of artists of the Sette Maniere, we wish to shed new light on the artistic contributions they made to Venetian painting in the seventeenth century. This panel will also pose questions relating to the domination of the production of paintings in Venice by these artists in the Seicento, as well as considering artistic quality as the basis for art historical study. To put it bluntly, despite their ubiquity in Venice, have Palma il Giovane and his contemporaries been underrated, or are they simply not very good artists? 

 Please send an abstract (max. 150 words) and a short CV (max. 300 words) in a single PDF to and by May 25, 2017. 

Tags:  Andrea Vicentino  Antonio Vassilacchi  Girolamo Pilotto  Leonardo Corona  Palma il Giovane  Pietro Malombra  Sante Peranda  Sette Maniere  Venetian Art  Venice Seicento 

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