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Builders of Trogir from 1420 to 1450

Ana Plosnić Škarić ; Institute of Art History, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (2 MB) str. 173-198 preuzimanja: 767* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Plosnić Škarić, A. (2014). Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine. Ars Adriatica, (4), 173-198. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Plosnić Škarić, Ana. "Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine." Ars Adriatica, vol. , br. 4, 2014, str. 173-198. Citirano 03.07.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Plosnić Škarić, Ana. "Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine." Ars Adriatica , br. 4 (2014): 173-198.
Plosnić Škarić, A. (2014). 'Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine', Ars Adriatica, (4), str. 173-198. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 03.07.2020.)
Plosnić Škarić A. Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine. Ars Adriatica [Internet]. 2014 [pristupljeno 03.07.2020.];(4):173-198. Dostupno na:
A. Plosnić Škarić, "Graditelji Trogira od 1420. do 1450. godine", Ars Adriatica, vol., br. 4, str. 173-198, 2014. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 03.07.2020.]

The article presents the newly discovered archival data relating to the marangoni and lapicide recorded in Trogir’s notarial books between 1420 and 1450 (see the Appendix: Overview of archival records mentioning lapicide and marangoni in Trogir from 1420 to 1450). It also includes few already known data published by Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, Cvito Fisković and Danko Zelić, as well as those recorded by Ivan Lucić and Pavao Andreis in their Trogir history books (from the 17th century), and the records from the canonical visitation of Bishop Didak Manola.
The sources consist of a handful of documents recording the commissions, and a large number of documents through which marangoni and lapicide arranged their private affairs or acted as witnesses. Out of sixty six recorded, thirty four were marangoni. Among these, twenty five were from Trogir and the same can be assumed for six of them whose origin was not mentioned, one was from Šibenik and two from Zadar. The overall number illustrates the need for such craftsmen in contemporary Trogir: the variety of tasks marangoni could perform was extremely wide and ranged from wood carving to the construction of stone buildings. However, it is likely that individual marangoni tended to specialize only in one of these fields. The documents mention twenty seven lapicide, six of which were from Trogir, four of unknown origin, three were mentioned as living in Trogir without an indication of their origin, five were from Venice, three from Dubrovnik, two from Šibenik, and one from Split, Zadar, Adria, Bosnia and Hvar respectively.
Through the analysis of the collected information and how it relates to the records about contemporary building projects such as new structures and the remodellings of old ones, the article aims to outline their different roles in the building works in Trogir from 1420 to 1450. The projects of that time included the construction of Dominican monastery in the suburb and the Franciscan one on the mainland. They both were demolished by the citizens attempting to improve the city defence in the early 15th century. During the attack of the Venetian fleet in 1420 numerous buildings were damaged and in need for reparations that often led to their remodelling as well. That was the case with the Benedictine monastery in the town centre and many private houses and especially included the renovation of the Cathedral and the continuation of the building works on it. Following the introduction of Venetian rule to Trogir in 1420, a number of new structures and repair works had to be done in the newly created circumstances the aim of which was the consolidation of Venetian presence. Among these, the most important projects were the construction of a citadel for Venetian military crew, also known as the Kamerlengo, and the remodelling of the municipal palace. The whole new Observant Dominican monastery and the Church of the Holy Cross were constructed as well. The preserved archival data, however, cannot give us the clear answers of all the builders that were employed on those works.
Among the recorded marangoni and lapicide, the most capable builders can be identified in two ways: through the contracts for the building of vaults, that is, the construction of vaulted spaces, and through the use of the title of protomagister regardless of whether, as E. Hilje explained, they refer to a builder who is also a designer/an architect or a builder who is simultaneously a foreman/site manager, or even the leading figure/authority chosen by the local craftsmen among themselves. Those master builders knew about the construction, and this knowledge enabled them to take on demanding tasks and roles. On that level, their primary education did not matter: vaults were constructed by both marangoni and lapicide and both of them had the protomagister titles indicating their tasks and roles. An additional criterion should be taken into account when attempting to identify the most capable master builders, that is, the training contracts which imply that the teacher was not only skilled but busy because otherwise he could not have been in a position to train an apprentice during all work phases or provide him with food and lodgings.
Among the marangoni and lapicide from Trogir (meaning being born, living and working in that town) there were those who were capable of producing drawings, organizing and managing a building site, carrying out demanding constructions and carving architectural sculpture, but also those who were responsible for the building works considered minor but necessary. The reason for the influx of a large number of craftsmen from other towns – nineteen of them were lapicide, while two out of three marangoni were definitely responsible for demanding constructions in stone – lies in the scope of the building projects in Trogir between 1420 and 1450. Even the meagre preserved records relating to specific commissions demonstrate that out of twenty three newcomers, as many as fourteen had work contracts before they arrived and the same can be suggested for another two. This means that they did not arrive in search of a job but were hired beforehand. Although the priority was always given to local builders, that is, to those who had already worked at Trogir, given that the construction of the Kamerlengo and the remodelling of the municipal palace demanded a large number of builders, they were procured by Venetian officials, while the Observant Dominican monks used their connections in Šibenik and Dubrovnik. Once in Trogir, some master builders accepted other commissions. On the basis of the information about their skills, this article attributes a number of undocumented local works to those masters. At the same time, we do not have enough information about the work of the carpenters and stonemasons native to Trogir, especially the work of the three recorded protomagistri. We have established that the reason for this, both in Trogir and in other towns, was the well-known and widespread (particularly in Trogir) practice of writing internal acknowledgements of debt and confirmations instead of recording contracts in notarial ledgers. Because of this, we have no information about the organization and division of tasks at building sites. Only one document testifies to the fact that the lapicide and marangoni who took on the contracts for the construction of buildings had to guarantee that the building process would be done properly and with a set time frame. This, however, did not mean that they themselves carried out the works; instead, they delegated, supervised, organized and co-ordinated the tasks. Given that we know of no other similar subcontract (most of them were probably internal as well and not recorded in notarial books), it can only be said that apprentices took part in the building projects which were contracted by the masters who were training them.
Therefore, the analysis of the collected information does not provide clear answers to the numerous questions regarding the output and authorship of the master builders, some of which were already posed by Lj. Karaman (1933). Instead, it opens up new problems which we have addressed by arguing for a number of hypotheses on the basis of the available information. We have suggested that several master builders remained in Trogir for a longer period of time than the one recorded in the surviving documents, and one should also bear in mind that the preserved sources probably do not contain records about every single stonemason or carpenter who was active in Trogir at the time. The sources illustrate the main reasons lying behind the arrival of builders, stonemasons and carpenters from other towns but also that their place in the hierarchy of contemporary marangoni and lapicide depended on their skills and knowledge. It can be safely assumed that, depending on their abilities, all the builders, stonemasons and carpenters listed in this article took part in the building campaigns and works (taken in its broadest sense) and by doing so, contributed to the construction of building projects in Trogir between 1420 and 1450.

Ključne riječi
marangoni; lapicide; building projects; archival records; Venetian government; ecclesiastical patronage; private patronage

Hrčak ID: 130729



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