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Memory and Identity: Why Venetians didn't Keep Ricordanze

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While the elites of Florence produced hundreds of ricordanze, or family memoirs, to establish and record their families' noble status, only one such record of a Venetian family has survived. Venetians shared the Florentine interest in recording and glorifying family status, but preferred to emphasize membership in the city's governing class by inclusion in public documents: registers of births and marriages and caxade de Veniexia, a kind of prosopography that described the the origins, residences, and honors of all the city's noble families. The Venetian preference for public compilations can be attributed to the clearly defined and closed character of the Venetian nobility and the myth of Venice, the ideal of virtuous concord. Painting and sculpture underline the distinction between Florence and Venice: portraits of individual patricians were common in the 15th century, but, except for Doges and foreigners, rare in Venice.
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Keywords: Elites; Florence; Memoirs; Public Records; Venice

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 1994

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