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Renaissance Venice

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Venice Italy is best known today for its culture and romantic canals. With the exotic way the city was construction and the backdrop of the ever-changing light caused by the waters of the canals, it has been romantically portrayed in many paintings, plays, movies, songs and operas. The once city state was a major trading empire. Located on the north end of the Adriatic Sea it was ideal for merchant shipping. Specializing in trade with the Byzantine Empire and the eastern world, Venice established a stable and prosperous economy. This naturally created and attracted a wealthy population. With this wealth people could afford many luxuries like art creating a thriving artists population. The style of Venetian art spanning two centuries during the renaissance was directly affected by the trade industry.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the population of Venice was broken down into three castes: nobili, cittadini and popolani. (P. F. Brown 1997) The nobili, or the ruling oligarchy consisted of men with varying levels of wealth. Some were even merchants. From the very wealthy to the near impoverished, the nobili were equals if only in the political realm. A majority of the cittadini, citizens, like the nobili, were involved in the mercantile industry in one way or another. Many even amassed great wealth in a relatively short amount of time. The rest of the population, the popolani, was considered to be on the lowest level on the social category but not necessarily on the wealth category. These consisted of but not limited to: artisans, craftsmen, mariners and wealthy foreigners. During this period there was great wealth flowing around the area. Venice was a major connection and seafaring powerhouse from the eastern world, such as modern...

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