Porticoes and loggias heralded the regeneration of cities in late medieval Italy. Historians usually view these open edifices as public amenities that signaled the vitality and prosperity of urban life in the Renaissance. A closer look at the nature of the activities porticoes housed – manual trades, banking, gaming, civic rituals – reveals that these pursuits were linked by ethical and moral quandaries that surfaced as Italy entered the early modern period. Sexton argues that porticoes, rather than passively sheltering such events, actively displayed emergent social, economic, and political lifestyles to the public. In so doing, porticoes became active tools of visual rhetoric in urban spaces, endowing new and unfamiliar practices with a patina of legitimacy. Sexton’s research situates post-classical porticoes deeply in cultural history, in the processes that informed their construction, and in the mentalities and collective attitudes of the citizens that used them.
Kim Sexton is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.
Co-sponsors: Alumni Association, German & Russian Studies, CEMERS, Romance Languages, History