Friends’ Event: Professor Deborah Howard – Venice and the Sea

Thursday 6th October 6.00PM BST


This evening we are delighted to welcome the eminent architectural historian Professor Deborah Howard who will present a special online lecture for Friends of Art History in Focus. The talk is complimentary – we will send login details automatically to all Friends a few days in advanceDon’t worry, there is no need to book your space online (although there is the option to do so if you would like to).

Click here if you would like to join Friends of Art History in Focus and attend this event.


To the Venetians the sea represented a range of associations, both positive and negative, a duality reinforced by biblical texts.  The sea was the route to the riches of maritime trade and the way to the Holy Land, and its waters yielded both fish and salt.  On the other hand, seafaring brought the dangers of storms, shipwreck, piracy and war. For the artist even the material qualities of the sea brought challenges.  Water is both reflective and transparent, and it can be solid (frozen), liquid or gaseous.  The swirling eddies, troughs and crests of waves are difficult to depict in a still image.  The sea can be dark or light, neutral in colour or brilliantly turquoise. This lecture will consider how artists from the 13th to the 18th century addressed the cultural and visual properties of the maritime world, from the mosaics of San Marco to the seascapes of the Settecento.

Deborah Howard is Professor Emerita of Architectural History in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge.  She is one of the world’s leading experts on Venetian architecture – her  Architectural History of Venice (Yale University Press, 2004) is an indispensable guide to the city’s structures from ancient times to the modern day. Other publications include Venice & the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture; Sound and Space in Renaissance VeniceVenice Disputed and Proto-Industrial Architecture in the Age of Palladio.


This is a live-streamed talk at 6.00pm (UK time).  Tune in from anywhere in the world to watch or enjoy a recorded version of the lecture which can be accessed afterwards. The event will last approximately one hour.

The lecture will allow you to participate and ask questions using webcams and microphones (if you would like to use these) during an informal Q&A and discussion.

Further Information

The talk is complimentary and for Friends of Art History in Focus only – we will send log in details to all Friends a few days in advance and hope that you are able to attend. Don’t worry, there is no need to RSVP or book your space online!

A recording will automatically be sent to all Friends of Art History in Focus who could not participate live.

Canaletto, Venice – The Bacino from the Giudecca, Wallace Collection, London