My research paper will examine the development of the Venice Film Festival as a result of the totalitarian regime of Mussolini and its relationship to the socio-political setting of Italy during the 1930s-1950s.

Annotated Bibliography

Relevant books, websites, and articles….


Alloway, Lawrence. The Venice Biennale 1895-1968 from salon to goldfish bowl. Greenwich, Connecticut: New York Graphic Society Ltd., 1968.

Bondanella, Peter. The Films of Roberto Rossellini. New York: Cambridge University Press,

1993, 1-7.

Bondanella states in this section of his book that Mussolini’s regime added cinema to the internationally famous arts festival in Venice so that it could compete with Hollywood.

Editori, Marsilio. La Biennale di Venezia, Exhibition Catalogue. 51 ed. New York: Rizzoli International, 2005.

Kezich, Tullio. “The Venice Film Festival. 1950.” Hollywood Quarterly 5.4 (1951): 373-379.

I found this article to be very helpful in understanding the globalization of film production and the shifts in popularity from French, American, Asian, and Italian films.

Michalczyk, John. The Italian Political Filmmakers. Canbury, NJ: Associated University Press, 1986.

“La Biennale di Venezia – Entry page sezione cinema.” La Biennale di Venezia – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2011. <>.

The Biennale’s website provides a really useful timeline with changes and adaptations made to the Biennale such as the inclusion of films and music.

Leprohon, Pierre. The Italian Cinema. Trans. Roger Greaves and Oliver Stallybrass (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972) 65-74.

Leprohon’s main focus in this section about the Venice film festival is that by 1940 the festival was almost entirely an Italian and German affair.  Between the Italian and German governments, both countries imposed their fascist governments onto government employed directors who showcased their work at the Venice Film Festival.

University of Pennsylvania, “The Cinema Under Mussolini.” Last modified 1996. Accessed October 1, 2011. /mussolini.html

This article is helpful to my research because it outlines Mussolini’s thoughts on cinema for Italy in a broad scope.

Valck, Marijke de. Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia. Amsterdam University Press, 2007

Valck provides a current evaluation of film festivals around the world which will help me contextualize the post- World War II success of the film festival.

Verdone, Mario. “The Italian Cinema from Its Beginnings to Today,” Hollywood Quarterly. Vol

5, No 3 (Spring 1951) University of California Press

A very helpful publication that reviews the rise of Italian cinema, its effect during the reign of Mussolini, and post WWII filmmaking.

Wilson, Simon. “The Venice Biennale.” The Burlington Magazine 118.883 (1976): 723-727.

Wilson’s article was helpful because it explained how the Biennale began as an exhibit of salon paintings and sculptures but morphed into a show place for the international avant-garde.

Wiskemann, Elizabeth. Fascism in Italy: Its Development and Influence. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1969.

Wiskermann’s book is an insightful overview of Mussolini’s political and socio-economic actions during his reign as a totalitarian leader.  While she doesn’t speak about the governments influence on cinema, she does provide a solid context to place cinema around when considering the government’s complete control.

Wood, Mary. Italian Cinema. New York: Berg Publishers, 2005, 1-15.

In regards to distribution and viewing of international films, Mary Wood states  American and French films which were considered the most popular during the 1940s disappeared from festivals and theatres in order to allow the Italian film industry to grow and develop.  Wood also goes on to explain the influence of organizations such as L’Unione Cinematografica Italiana (UCI) which were developed in order to modernize the commercial film industry (The idea of corportism as a means of power).


Interlibrary Loan Requests:

Outstanding Requests
Transaction Type Title Author Status
117478 Book Film festivals : culture, people, and power on the global screen / Wong, Cindy H., 1961- Request Sent
117506 Book Fascism in film : the Italian commercial cinema, 1931-1943 / Landy, Marcia, 1931- Request Sent
117507 Book Cinema and fascism : Italian film and society, 1922-1943 / Ricci, Steven. Request Sent


Sources to be Used:

This is my current list of sources that I plan to use to use for my research:

Brown, Judith C. and Davis, Robert C., eds. Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1998.

Brown, Patricia Fortini.  Art and Life in Renaissance Venice. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997.

Chojnacki, Stanley. Donne di potere nel Rinascimento, “At Home and Beyond: Women’s Power in Renaissance Venice.”

Chojnacki, Stanley.  Women and Men in Renaissance Venice. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Horodowich, Elizabeth, ‘Beyond Marriage and the Convent: Women, Class and Honour in Renaissance Italy’ Gender & History, Vol.14 No.2 August 2002, pp. 340–345.

Humfrey, Peter. Painting in Renaissance Venice. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Junkerman, Anne Christine. Bellissima Donna: An Interdisciplinary Study of Venetian Sensuous Half-Length Images of the Early Sixteenth Century. Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, 1988

Knauer, Elfriede Regina. “Portrait of a Lady? Some Reflections on Images of Prostitutes from the Later  Fifteenth Century.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 47 (2002): 95-117. (accessed October 2, 2011)

Lawner, Lynne. Lives of the Courtesans: Portraits of the Renaissance. New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 1987.

Mason, Georgina. Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance. London: Secker and Warburg Limited, 1975.

Pearson, Andrea, ed. Women and Portraits in Early Modern Europe. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2008.

Pignatti, Terisio. The Golden Century of Venetian Painting. Los Angeles: Los Angeles  County Museum of Art, 1979.

Rogers, Mary. “Sonnets on female portraits from Renaissance North Italy.” Word and Image 2, no. 4 (October- November 1986): 291-305.

Romano, Dennis. “Gender and the Urban Geography of Renaissance Venice.” Journal of Social History 23, no. 2 (Winter 1989): 339-348. (accessed October 2, 2011).

Rosenthal, Margaret F. “Veronica Franco’s Terze Rime: the Venetian Courtesan’s Defense.” Renaissance Quarterly 42, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 227-257.

Rosenthal, Margaret F. The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth- Century Venice. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992

Schuler, Carol M. “The Courtesan in Art: Historical Fact or Modern Fantasy?.” Women’s Studies 19, no. 2 (August 1991): 209. (accessed October 2, 2011).

Stortoni, Laura Anna, ed. Women Poets of the Italian Renaissance: Courtly Ladies and Courtesans, trans. Laura Anna Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillie. New York: Italica Press, 1997.

Turner, James Grantham, ed. Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.


Research Proposal:

The courtesans in Venice during the Renaissance were considered a subculture within society. In fact, they were so popular, that men from all over Europe would visit Venice just to admire these women because of their rumored beauty. Perhaps the most well known of these Venetian courtesans is Veronica Franco. Known as the “honest courtesan,” Franco was a well-educated woman who wrote poetry as well as songs. Her profession did not only include being a courtesan, but she also earned a living by selling her words. Many famous artists depicted the lives and beauty of the courtesans including Carpaccio, Giacomo Franco, Titian, Giorgione, and Bordone. However, because of what we know about Franco’s life, it is possible that scholars are merely assuming that the unknown sitters in the works of the above artists are courtesans. I will discuss what it is that was written about Franco and why that has led scholars to label most of the Venetian female portraiture as depicting courtesans.

I will provide a lengthy discussion about the life of Veronica Franco and the artists that have chosen to depict her in their portraits. I will go into detail about her patrons, her life as seen through her own eyes, and the trial and debate that eventually led her to exile.

Naturally, a courtesan striving to be a part of the academic world during the Renaissance came with its hardships and Franco was no exception. Her ambition, determination, and struggles are what make her a remarkable, and more importantly successful, woman in a male-dominated society.

Veronica Franco: The Life of a Courtesan in Renaissance Venice and Her Influence on the Analysis of Female Portraiture (Thesis)

Many famous artists depicted the lives and beauty of the courtesans including Carpaccio, Giacomo Franco, Titian, Giorgione, and Bordone. However, because of what we know about Franco’s life, it is possible that scholars are merely assuming that the unknown sitters in the works of the above artists are courtesans. I will discuss what it is that was written about Franco and why that has led scholars to label most of the Venetian female portraiture as depicting courtesans.

A revision of my proposal

Mosaics and St. Mark

The mosaics of San Marco Basilica are an important representation of mosaic art and its change over time in Venice and demonstrate the importance of the art of mosaic in Venice starting from the 11th century to present day. In particular the depictions of Saint Mark through the medium of mosaic in San Marco portray the importance of Venice’s relationship to both subjects: St. Mark and mosaics. In these mosaics Venice relates itself to the saint using him as a personification of Venice’s glory by making icons out of a prestigious event within the cities own history.

Venice is responsible for creating its own legend surrounding the life of Mark and his eventual translation to Venice. To be taken seriously as a powerful entity in Europe Venice felt it needed a connection to an important saint.[1] Whether based in fiction or fact the San Marco Basilica was built and decorated as a large reliquary for a body believed to be that of St. Mark. His stories are given precedence in mosaic particularly on the façade of the Basilica and in the interior of the sanctuary.

The chronology of the St. Mark mosaics is interesting and is evident in their appearance. Styles ranging from the early 12th century to restoration work of the 19th century are present. The stylistic changes occurred due to restorations as well as each time period’s dislike for the work done by earlier artists. Even with these changes Venice did create some regulations as early at the 17th century pertaining specifically to mosaics in an attempt to preserve their iconography and narrative. A comparison of the varying styles can be made because evidence of the old mosaics remain in both the decoration of San Marco, personal accounts of viewers and artwork featuring the Basilica that includes the mosaics.

San Marco has undergone many changes in its lifetime and issues concerning mosaics have been a part of it since the end of the 11th century. Examining them in regards to the depictions of St. Mark allows for a more in depth analysis of the mosaics as well as the Venetian relationship to their stolen saint and his portrayal in Venetian art.

[1] John J. Norwich, A History of Venice (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), 29.