Matteo Raverti at the Cà D'oro: Geometry and Order in Venetian Gothic Tracery
The Venetian palace on the Grand Canal of the merchant Marin Contarini, known as the Cà d'Oro, built in the 1420s–1430s, fulfilled the traditional dual function: that of warehouse and that of palatial apartment. It is celebrated for its elaborately decorated façade, whose stonework tracery, inspired by the great loggia of the Palazzo Ducale, was executed by the Milanese mason and sculptor Matteo Raverti in 1425. This essay discusses the way in which Raverti drew on the doge's palace, refining its design in the process, the complex geometry determining the upper loggia for Contarini, and the influence that both works had on the last generation of Venetian gothic palaces up to about 1470. Later masters could scarcely match Raverti's refinement in either design or execution, and reverted to earlier, simpler forms, so that his sculpted tracery stands as a supreme example of a single master's skill.