Cover image for Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home By Chriscinda Henry

Playful Pictures

Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home

Chriscinda Henry

COMING IN DECEMBER

$104.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08911-9
Coming in December

280 pages
8" × 10"
39 color/41 b&w illustrations
2021

Playful Pictures

Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home

Chriscinda Henry

Playful Pictures provides a rich and welcome study of secular Venetian domestic paintings, many of which are familiar to art historians but have not been connected fully to the literary, social, and performative worlds of Venetian culture. Henry brings a well-researched interdisciplinary perspective and vividly re-creates the viewing contexts for these paintings.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
In Playful Pictures, Chriscinda Henry explores the rise of private art collection in Renaissance Venice as a diporto, or pastime, practiced within a kaleidoscopic matrix of domestic leisure that encompassed the recitation of poetry and tales, games, music making, amateur theatrical activity, and the conversational arts.

Between around 1490 and 1550, a new class of pictures emerged in Venice. These images—primarily paintings but also drawings, prints, book illustrations, and historiated architectural elements—feature quotidian, festive, allusive, and performative subjects that catered to the cultural and intellectual interests of avant-garde patrons and collectors. Several generations of Venetian artists, including Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni Cariani, Bernardino Licinio, and Paris Bordon, rose to meet the demand of modern collectors seeking entertaining artworks that could speak to their personal values and taste. Playful Pictures connects painting and the graphic arts with other art forms engaged in the home: vernacular literature and the novella tradition; pastoral music, verse, and theater; urban dialect comedies; and carnival and ludic culture. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that treats these pursuits as linked forms of creative practice, Henry argues that they served as dynamic forms of personal and collective expression for patrons, collectors, artists, and other virtuosi seeking to express a new set of secular values and a contingent notion of selfhood.

Incorporating fresh evidence from archival sources, this book expands the discourse on Renaissance art by situating it within the growing, and increasingly nuanced, scholarly understanding of Renaissance leisure and entertainment culture.

Playful Pictures provides a rich and welcome study of secular Venetian domestic paintings, many of which are familiar to art historians but have not been connected fully to the literary, social, and performative worlds of Venetian culture. Henry brings a well-researched interdisciplinary perspective and vividly re-creates the viewing contexts for these paintings.”
Playful Pictures addresses a lingering gap in our understanding of a significant innovation: secular pictures, often open-ended, produced for the home in Renaissance Venice at the end of the fifteenth and first half of the sixteenth centuries and described by contemporaries as delitie (delights). Henry takes this term seriously, and readers are rewarded for this insight as she reinserts a range of famous to lesser-known works into their shared performative context in the domestic sphere.”

Chriscinda Henry is Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University.

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The Art of Leisure

1. Boredom and Relief on Carpaccio’s Studiolo Door

2. Pastoral Fellowship and the Performance of Virtuosity

3. Theatrical Painting from Alla bulesca to Commedia dell’arte

4. Ludic Art and Entertainment in the Venetian Portego

Epilogue: The Carnivalization of Venice

Notes

Bibliography

Index