Public Renaissance: The Italian piazza as a social media space

Symmetrical and harmonious, the piazza was an innovative urban design typology developed during the Renaissance in Italy. Setting aside its idealized depiction in treatises and sparsely populated paintings, I will instead discuss its everyday use and representation and ask whether we might consider the piazza a pre-modern social media space. In the latter part of the talk I will also ask how locative media practices and wider digital humanities approaches can be implicated in formulating new historical research questions by introducing my recently-published cultural history smartphone tour app, Hidden Florence.

Fabrizio Nevola is Chair of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter (UK). In 2007 he published Siena: Constructing the Renaissance City (Yale UP) and contributed to the National Gallery exhibition catalogue Renaissance Siena: Art for a City. He is currently working on a project that considers the physical and social environment of the public space of streets in Renaissance Italy, and has published a number of articles related to this research, including the co-edited collection Experiences of the Street in Early Modern Italy in the 2013 issue of I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance. Among other projects, he has created a mobile phone app that provides a mobile immersive experience of life in the Renaissance city, Hidden Florence published in 2014 and available on GooglePlay and AppStore.

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5:30pm, 3 Feb 2016

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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