This book offers an engaging and original perspective on the private lives and material culture of patrician families in sixteenth-century Venice. Distinguished art historian Patricia Fortini Brown takes us behind the elegant facades of grand palaces built along the Venetian canals and examines the roles of both fine and applied arts in family life as well as the public messages that these impressive homes conveyed.
Illustrated with hundreds of varied and unusual images, the book provides a lively picture of the aristocratic lifestyle during a period of changing definitions of nobility. The author considers such wide-ranging themes as attitudes toward wealth and display, the articulation of family identity, and the visual culture of Venetian women-how they decorated their homes, dressed, undertook domestic tasks, entertained, and raised their children. Recapturing the interplay between the public and private, she offers an account of Venetian households unequalled in vividness and detail.