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SU prof pens first complete biography of Venetian Doge Francesco Foscari, selected for senior fellowship at National Gallery of Art
SU prof pens first complete biography of Venetian Doge Francesco Foscari, selected for senior fellowship at National Gallery of ArtAugust 07, 2007Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Dennis Romano, professor of history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, recently penned “The Likeness of Venice: A Life of Doge Franceso Foscari” (Yale University Press, 2007), the first complete biography on Venetian Doge Francesco Foscari, who ruled Venice from 1423-57 during a particularly tumultuous time in the history of the republic.
For more than 1,000 years, the chief magistrate and leader of the city of Venice (later the Republic of Venice) was the doge, an Italian title parallel to the English duke. Doges were elected for life by the city-state’s aristocracy. The story of Foscari’s life and reign as doge of Venice during the height of the Italian Renaissance is so dramatic that it has been immortalized in a play by Lord Byron and an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, but never in a thorough biography.
Because Foscari left behind no personal papers, Romano explores his life through extensive research of government records and chronicle sources. Foscari’s life was strained by political conflict and the family heartbreak that led to his forced deposition from office after his own son was accused of corruption and sentenced to exile by the Council of Ten. Romano interprets architectural monuments built by Foscari and his heirs to convey the doge’s personality and political policies, analyzes the intersection of art and power in Renaissance Italy and how Foscari came to truly embody 15th-century Venice, debunks myths, unearths details on Foscari’s triumphs, and completes the first intimate portrait of the man himself.
Later this fall, Romano will begin an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowships support research in the history, theory and criticism of the visual arts of any geographical area and of any period. During his fellowship period, Romano will conduct full-time research for his new project on markets and marketplaces in medieval Italian cities and will complement his research endeavors with the lectures, colloquia and informal discussions offered through the fellowship program. As a senior fellow, Romano will have access to the resources represented by the collections, library and photographic archives of the National Gallery, as well as the Library of Congress and other specialized research libraries and collections in the Washington area.
Romano is a specialist in the social and cultural history of Renaissance Italy and the city of Venice. He has published four books on various aspects of Venetian history.