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The Enigma Of Carpaccios Venetian Ladies

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Chapter Summary

The fragmentary state of the panel painting by Vittore Carpaccio, and the dispersion of its extant portions, the so-called Venetian Ladies on a Balcony and Hunting in the Lagoon, in two different museums have promoted various misconceptions in the art-historical literature. This chapter explores questions that demonstrate the uniqueness of this work by Carpaccio. It presents a new theory regarding the painting's function, context and significance. The chapter provides new evidence and integrates it wiith some past findings and mutually unrelated contributions. It argues that Carpaccio painted his Venetian ladies overlooking a lagoon for a piece of domestic furniture, which was intended as a wedding gift for a future bride. Images of moral ambivalence and multiple levels of meaning employed in this context are also analyzed, revealing the complexity and originality of Carpaccio's iconography.

Keywords: art-historical literature; Carpaccio's iconography; Hunting in the Lagoon; moral ambivalence; panel painting; Venetian Ladies on a Balcony; Vittore Carpaccio



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