Artistic and Diplomatic Exchange between the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and Serenissima – Shaping Identity through Architecture

  • Abstract:

    The image of the historical nucleus of Dubrovnik appears a coherent and harmonious one, built exclusively in white local stone, with repeating elements on facades of buildings inserted into a rigid urban structure. This rather controlled environment reflects the state’s social coherency and harmony, key terms in the historical and literary identity discourses of the “myth of the Republic of Ragusa”. On the other hand, differences emerging from closer formal analysis of architectural patterns of representative buildings financed by the Republic, cannot be interpreted only with the passage of time: it is clear and well known that their authors came from rather different geographical and artistic backgrounds: Naples, Rome and Venice. In order to shed more light on the reasons of these artistic exchanges, the present paper explores figure of the Venetian architect Marino Groppelli (1662-1728) and builders who came with him from Venice to Ragusa to rebuilt St. Blais’s church after the fire completely ruined it on the 25 May 1706. In the long history of Republic of Ragusa (4,5 centuries) this is the first time that Venetians built in Dubrovnik. The fact that the city’s patron church is placed in the heart of the Old city of Dubrovnik, on the crossing of two most important streets (Placa-Stradun and Pred dvorom) makes this choice even more complex to understand. Departing from the unpublished diplomatic letters (series Lettere da Ponente and Diplomata et Acta) preserved in the Dubrovnik state archives this research focuses on architectural exchange as a result of diplomatic exchange.