Doge's Palace, Venice

(1340-1438)
   The Doge's Palace was the seat of government in Venice. In this region, fortifications were not necessary since the Adriatic Sea provided protection from invasion. Therefore, the Doge's Palace, unlike the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena or the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, is not a fortified structure. In fact, it is quite inviting in that the lower story is an open arcade, a sort of promenade for Venetians to take shelter from the elements. Above this lower story is a second arcade with narrower openings surmounted by quatrefoils. The upper level is a solid block covered in a diamond pattern and capped by flamelike elements. As in Venetian art of the period, the structure commingles Western with Eastern elements. The arcades, quatrefoils, and pointed windows of the upper story were all inspired by the French Gothic style. The flamelike elements that cap the building, however, add an Islamic flavor. This hybrid design is the result of Venice's ties with the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern world.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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