Chamber of the Scrutinio, Doge’s Palace

The Chamber of the Scrutinio (Italian: Sala dello Scrutinio). This immense room is in the wing of the Doge’s Palace built between the 1520s and 1540s during the dogate of Francesco Foscari (1423-57). It was initially intended to house the precious manuscripts left to the Republic by Petrarch and Bessarione (1468); indeed, it was originally known as the Library. In 1532, it was decided that the Chamber should also hold the electoral counting and/or deliberations that assiduously marked the rhythm of Venetian politics, based on an assembly system whose epicenter was the nearby Great Council Chamber. After the construction of Sansovino’s Library though, this room was used solely for elections, starting with the most important, that of the Doge. The present decorations date from between 1578 and 1615, after the 1577 fire. The rich ceiling was designed by the painter-cartographer Cristoforo Sorte. Episodes of military history in the various compartments glorify the exploits of the Venetians, with particular emphasis on the conquest of the maritime empire; the only exception being the last oval, recording the taking of Padua in 1405. The walls recount battles won between 809 and 1656. The painting on the eastern side showing The Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino, of 1571, is particularly evocative. It is framed by other battle scenes: the Venetian Victory over the Turks at the Dardanelles by Pietro Liberi, painted between 1660 and 1665, and the Venetian Victory over the Turks in Albania by Pietro Bellotti, of 1663. The western wall also retells military stories, including The Conquest of Tyre by Antonio Aliense, of 1590 ca. and the Venetian Naval Victory over the Egyptians at Jaffa, by Sante Peranda, painted between 1598 and 1605. The series of Doges portraits of the Chamber of the Great Council continues in the frieze beneath the ceiling, while the south wall is decorated with the Last Judgment by Jacopo Palma Giovane, painted between 1594 and 1595, ideally linked to the Il Paradiso next door. The room is closed to the north by a majestic triumphal arch by Andrea Tirali. This was erected in honor of Doge Francesco Morosini Peloponnesiaco, who died in 1694 during the war in Morea.

The name of the room derives from the votes that were held there, in particular those for the new doge.

Located in the wing facing the Piazzetta and directly connected to the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, this vast room was built during the stave of Francesco Foscari, to contain the Marciana Library. Starting from 1532, however, it became the place for the scrutinies of the frequent and continuous deliberations of the assemblies of the Republic. The library instead found a different location in the new and facing Library building. This hall by the fire of 1577 was also devastated, which destroyed the magnificent decorative apparatus among whose works the famous Battle of Lepanto stood Jacopo Tintoretto, the new decorative cycle, prepared by the monk Gerolamo de Bardi, to be realized in the new wall structure erected by order of the Doge Da Ponte, provided a cycle composed of paintings depicting the naval victories of the Venetians in the East as well as that relating to the conquest of Padua in 1405. The paintings were commissioned almost all to Tintoretto, Veronese and their pupils: however, there were some variations in the program, so that some paintings were added in the following century.

The Maggior Consiglio in the Sala del Senato
After Francesco Dandolo he ascended the throne Pietro Gradenigo, author of a series of laws better known as Serrata del Maggior Consiglio, an operation aimed at allowing access to the Maggior Consiglio only to those who had been able to show that their ancestors they had already been a part. Given this definition, and analyzed what the purpose of this law was, the name of lockout does not correspond to a reduction in the number of those who were admitted to the council. On the contrary, there was an increase in the number of councilors, which necessitated an extension of the premises to house the council itself, whose members had gone from 317 to1264 to 900 in 1310 and to 1017 the following year. The proposals that were most successful among those that were made to allow all members of the council to meet in the same room were to also use adjacent environments, without them being incorporated, and that, then completed, to restructure in a way radical environment, incorporating smaller rooms, building load-bearing walls and knocking down others. Some chronicles report that in 1301, the year in which the discourse on this issue was resumed, defining the rules of the announcement, the date of departure of the work, the penalties for those who had slowed down the work, “It was taken part to make a Great Hall for the reduction of the great Council, and what was now called the scrutiny”: the works according to Francesco Sansovino ended in 1309 and the Maggior Consiglio continued to meet in that hall, later called the Sala dei Pregadi, until 1423. Even the premises hosting the services and the organs connected to the Maggior Consiglio were transferred to a place adjacent to the new environment. From the simple renovation of a room we moved to a more complex site, which was to provide for the reconstruction of the entire southern wing: this not only because of new practical requirements, but also because the Maggior Consiglio was gaining increasing importance, to the detriment of the figure of the doge, and therefore his hall had to demonstrate the influence and wealth of the members of this organ.

The dating of this site can not however be given with extreme precision (although roughly the period is quite safe), as other sources, and in particular the works of Marin Sanudo the Younger, sometimes report as of 1305, other times the 1310. It is not known who was responsible for this work, as it is certainly not where the council met before it (although there are well-founded assumptions that state that before the Serrata the council would meet in the same place where it would be reunited after 1423, after the said local was duly expanded ) or what was the decorative apparatus of the hall hosting the council.

If we want to identify an author of the work of restructuring, we can search for it in Pietro Basejo, cited in a document of 1361, but died in 1354. Since the biographical information concerning Basejo is rather scarce, it can not be established that it was in 1301 because its date of birth is unknown. Another line of research has identified as a possible author of these renovations the architect Montagnana, cited by Sansovino as the author of the restructuring of the bell tower and according to Tommaso Temanza potentially also proto of Palazzo Ducale, that is the first architect of the Republic, in charge of the management of all the main public worksites and in particular that of the Basilica of San Marco. Hints on the decoration of the hall are given to us by Sanudo in his diaries: on June 5, 1525 he states that there were boxes depicting large and small trees, with an allegorical function. It is however probable that there were also cartographic representations of the possessions of the Serenissima and a ‘ Coronation of the Virgin at the throne. In 1525, the year in which the reconstruction of the hall was deliberated, Sanudo complained that such a fine place could not be destroyed, otherwise the masterpieces contained within it would be lost.

The rich ceiling with compartments was designed by Cristoforo Sorte and was completed between 1578 and 1585: it consisted of forty paintings placed inside a golden structure. The five power stations depict the Struggle of Venice with the Maritime Republics, while the others are allegories. The various paintings that make up the perimeter of the ceiling are the work of various artists, including Andrea Vicentino, Francesco Montemezzano, Niccolò Bambini, Antonio Vassilacchi, Giulio Del Moro and Camillo Ballini. Just below the ceiling is the frieze depicting the portraits of the last forty-two doges, which completes the one present in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio and portrays the doges from Lorenzo Priuli to Ludovico Manin. The first seven paintings were made by Tintoretto, while the others were commissioned by the individual doges to a contemporary artist.

On the walls, above the court, is the Last Judgment by Jacopo Palma the Younger, enriched with regard to the upper margin by eight lunettes, made by Andrea Vicentino, depicting the Four Evangelists and the Four Prophets. On the opposite wall to this work is the triumphal arch dedicated to Francesco Morosini, victorious against the Turks in the East, designed by Andrea Tirali, erected in 1694 and adorned by six allegorical paintings made by Gregorio Lazzarini. The two remaining walls, the longest ones, are adored by ten works depicting the main naval and terrestrial victories of the Venetian army: these paintings were made among others by Andrea Vicentino, Sebastiano Ricci, Antonio Vassilacchi, Marco Vecellio and Jacopo Tintoretto.

On 27 October 1866, in this room there was a scrutiny of the results of the plebiscite annexation of the Veneto to the Kingdom of Italy on 21 and 22 October; the final results were announced by the balcony of the room on the evening of October 27th by the president of the Court of Appeals of Venice, Sebastiano Tecchio.

Construction sites in the southern wing
The hall became operational in 1309, and became in fact the second seat of the Maggior Consiglio, but it became immediately necessary to change the seat of the hosted organ because of the increase of a third of the number of those who were admitted to be part of it. the 1301, year of beginning of the works for the Sansovino, and 1309, year of the conclusion of the same ones. The need to find new spaces for such a large organ made it necessary to open building sites in the southern wing of the palace, dated from Sansovino to 1309. With regard to the construction of this new wing, the contrast between the different sources was presented, which, by affirming different data, made it difficult to reconstruct the chronology relating to this work. In the first place, it is necessary to state that this construction site was opened for the simple necessity of building the Hall of the Great Council and not for other purposes.

There are various elements that support the thesis according to which the construction of the new room began immediately after the conclusion of the previous works: first, the urgent need to find a new site for the Maggior Consiglio; secondly, the accuracy of the historical sources used by Sansovino, very often written by contemporaries of the works treated and therefore able to record the data with extreme precision and, ultimately, the presence of a document found by the abbot and historian Giuseppe Cadorin, even if mistakenly interpreted by them: in it it is stated that in 1340, many years identified as that of the construction of the room, this had already been erected as well as the wing that housed it and needed not so much to be built, but rather expanded, already hosting several administrative bodies. The new hall was erected above the pre-existing Hall of the Lords of Night, which was reworked by width; furthermore, some columns were built in the aforesaid hall to support the floor of the local overhang, according to the advice of some expert masters. In 1309then began the work, consisting of the demolition and reconstruction from the foundations of the southern side facing the sea, the wing where the Maggior Consiglio had previously met, then temporarily transferred to the Sala del Senato or dei Pregadi. The decree of 28 December 1340, which ordered the construction of the new room dedicated to the Maggior Consiglio on the second floor, testifies how at that time the first floor was already used for other offices. The reconstruction work was strongly promoted by the doge Giovanni Soranzo, which was able to realize other works that promoted the urban development of the Serenissima, in parallel accompanied by the construction of numerous private residences. The fact that the realization of such works was carried out under the aforementioned doge is evidenced by the presence of an official document concerning the financing of public works, from which it can be deduced that in 1323 the construction of the wing had come to the first floor and some areas were being covered to cover the newly built rooms, others to the ceiling repair.

Regarding who was the architect responsible for this construction, started in 1309, Giovanni Battista Egnazio, at the century Cipelli, identifies him with Filippo Calendario. This reconstruction must however be compared to a document dating back to 23 September 1361, reported verbatim in the chronicles of Cadorin and constituting one of the main biographical sources relating to Pietro Basejo, identified as the first architect in an era prior to the activity of the Calendar.

Consequently, it can be said that the construction of the wing towards the sea up to the first floor was the work of Basejo, even if the name of the Calendar, not unrelated to the building site, is not lost like that of the other in the oblivion of time by virtue of the fact that the latter had great prestige among the people and was among the conspirators of the coup by Marin Falier in 1355. The participation of the Calendar in the yard is however very probable, but probably his intervention took place at a later time and always parallel to the activity of the first, with whom he would then enter into a relationship of friendship such as to give his daughter Caterina in marriage to her colleague’s son.

Palazzo Ducale di Venezia

The Doge’s Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

The history of the Doge ‘s Palace in Venice begins in the Middle Ages and continues with numerous extensions, renovations and demolitions aimed at adapting the building to the new needs of the city and in particular the need to give a seat to those governing bodies that, by increasing their number, they began to support the doge in the administration, depriving him of some powers and decreasing the spaces at his disposal.

In 810, after Venice had become the capital of the Serenissima taking the place of Heraclea and Metamaucum, the seat of the doge was built there, probably in the form of a fortified and turreted building, soon flanked by a basilica.

The complex remained essentially unchanged in its appearance until the twelfth century, when, with the dogato of Sebastiano Ziani, an era was inaugurated characterized by numerous renovations, which involved all three wings. In the southern, western and eastern wings the works started before 1340, 1424 and 1483 respectively, in the latter case as a result of a fire which would be followed by two others, which would have led to the destruction of many works of art, promptly replaced thanks to the work of the main Venetian masters. Built the New Prisons and renovated the ground floor between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Palazzo was no longer the subject of important works, but rather the victim of damage that led to the removal of numerous works of art.

With the annexation of Venice to the Kingdom of Italy, the building passed under the jurisdiction of the latter and became a museum, a function that continues to perform by hosting the headquarters of the Civic Museum of Palazzo Ducale, part of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice (MUVE) and in 2012 visited by 1 319 527 people.