The Sanmichelis’ Fortification Architecture of the Stato da Màr: An Unwritten Renaissance Treatise
Ana Šverko is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Art History in Split, and Associate Professor at the University of Split. Her research focuses on the architectural history of the Eastern Adriatic in a cross-cultural context. She participated in Harvard University’s seminar Art on the Move in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean in the Early Modern Period supported by the Getty Foundation (2014–15). She led a research project related to the Grand Tour of Dalmatia (2014–17), and the Croatian Glossary of Classical Architecture project (2018–19), both funded by the Croatian Science Foundation. In recent years her research was also supported by the Getty Foundation in Digital Art History (2018–19) and the Paul Mellon Centre (2021).
During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, Venice’s overseas territories – which formed part of the ‘border zone’ between the East and West – required intensive work by the best military architects. This project examines the Venetian defensive system within the Stato da Màr, as constructed during the first half of the 16th century and formulated by Michele Sanmicheli and his cousin’s son Giangirolamo. Through an analysis of the Sanmichelis’ fortification projects within the Venetian Republic’s periphery – its possessions in what is today Croatia, Greece, and Cyprus – a comprehensive reconstruction of their contribution to Renaissance fortification architecture will be developed. The Sanmichelis’ work underwent complex adaptations and modifications, with only a few original drawings preserved. However, by developing a systematic analysis of their fortifications in the Stato da Màr, this project studies the Sanmichelis as agents of Renaissance architectural knowledge in a transcultural perspective, recreating their theories relating to fortification architecture, retrospectively, as a form of unwritten treatise in practice. The project looks in two directions: uncovering, on the one hand, the fortification architecture developed by the Sanmichelis in dialogue with local craftsmen of the Venetian overseas territories and the character of place; and anticipating, on the other, the wider dissemination of those architectural principles developed in response to the Stato da Màr.