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On the Šibenik' Civic loggia

Danko Zelić orcid id ; Institut za povijest umjetnosti, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.300 Kb

str. 299-312

preuzimanja: 1.403



The municipal loggia in Šibenik was built between 1534 and 1547 as a replacement for the old loggia which had been constructed in the early fourteenth century as more modest building. The new loggia was a two-storied structure built on an elongated rectangular ground plan with an arcaded portico on the ground floor and an open colonnade on the first floor which stretched along the entire north side of the main town square. There, it faced the north side of Šibenik Cathedral and, therefore, helped shape an architectural setting which, compared to the public spaces in other Dalmatian towns, could be described as a proper Renaissance square. Despite this, in contrast to the Cathedral which has been extensively studied by several generations of art-historians, the municipal loggia never attracted much scholarly attention and tends to be mentioned briefly in general overviews of sixteenth-century art and architecture in Dalmatia and/or Croatia. In fact, no significant contributions to the knowledge about the history of this building have been made for almost a century, that is, since it was last discussed by local historians. Moreover, the loggia as they knew it was completely destroyed in a 1943 bombing raid and subsequently rebuilt from 1949 to 1960.
The aim of this article is to establish basic facts about the original sixteenth-century building, starting with how it was called and which purpose it fulfilled. From the early twentieth century onward – the time when one first comes across the suggestion that the Šibenik loggia originally served as the seat of the municipal council – it has often been referred to as the town hall, not only in everyday life but also in the scholarly literature. However, the evidence obtained from the primary sources such as the Šibenik municipal statute, archival documents and other historical records demonstrates that the meetings of the local Great Council were held in the nearby Municipal, that is, Rector’s palace and nowhere else. Moreover, the loggia could not suit the needs of a large assembly, especially considering that its ground floor was divided in (at least) seven separate rooms while the upper level was completely open towards the square across the entire width of the building. The latter is corroborated by the written testimonies of the early nineteenth century which pre-date the time when the intercolumnations were filled in so as to make a wall on the first floor. On the other hand, the use of the term loggia (or logia as it appears in the sources written in Latin) which is not just a generic name for a distinctive architectural type, is indicative enough, not just with relation to the original purpose and function of the building but with regard to the important role in had in the everyday life of the local community. Just like any other municipal logia magna found in the medieval Mediterranean world, the one at Šibenik served as a place for the dispensation of justice but also as a place where a number of activities connected to public affairs took place, for example, promulgations of legal decrees issued by the central or local government, announcements of sale of immovable property, public auctions and so on.
With regard to the commissioning process, design and execution of the loggia, the study of the primary sources has not yielded any results. Nothing is known about its designer, builders, sculptors and stonemasons, and the same can be said for the role played by the municipal bodies in its construction. The only reliable source of information concerning the chronology of the building and the individuals connected to it are the texts of four all’antica inscriptions, which were not restored after the Second World War, and which praise the merits of two Venetian noblemen who served as rectors of Šibenik in the sixteenth-century. The building of the loggia begun during the office of conte et capitano Zuan Alvise Venier (1532‒1534) while the inscription of 1542 gives the credit for its completion to Francesco Diedo who was rector between 1541 and 1543. However, what seems to have been completed by 1542 was only the main construction because we learn from the last dated inscription, located on the bell-tower, that Zuan Alvise Venier not only started the project but brought it to an end in 1547, the final year of his second term in office as the rector of Šibenik (1545-1547).
The concluding sections of the article deal with the loggia’s unique architectural and urbanistic qualities and provide a brief survey of the still open historical and art-historical questions surrounding it, particularly those concerning its place within the context of contemporary architecture in the Venetian province of Dalmatia.

Ključne riječi

Šibenik; Dalmatia; sixteenth century; secular architecture; Renaissance

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