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Prudence Richardson

MA work

Dissertation: Unlocking the Past: Doors and Door Furniture in Renaissance Venice

This dissertation looks at the way doors were produced, decorated and experienced in Renaissance Venice as a means not only of re-assessing their importance within the building complex as a whole, but also of ascertaining the emotional and sensory implications of living in, with and through the city's architecture at this time.

The study combines close object analysis of surviving doors and door knockers in museums and in situ in Venice itself, with documentary evidence relating to doors. These include building records, guild regulations, architectural treatises and literary and legislative references. Visual evidence of doors from prints and paintings is also used as evidence of decorative schemes and usage.

On the borderline between public and private, studying the door leads to issues of group and individual identity, privacy, security and health in Renaissance Venice, as well as broader issues of visibility, spatial recognition, human interaction and sensory experience.

The multiplicity of functions inherent in the door, which aims to both enable and bar access, reveal and conceal, is found repeated in the objects used to decorate it and the uses to which it is put, rendering it anything but the transparent object it might at first appear.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2008

  • Dissertation: Unlocking the Past: Doors and Door Furniture in Renaissance Venice

    This dissertation looks at the way doors were produced, decorated and experienced in Renaissance Venice as a means not only of re-assessing their importance within the building complex as a whole, but also of ascertaining the emotional and sensory implications of living in, with and through the city's architecture at this time.

    The study combines close object analysis of surviving doors and door knockers in museums and in situ in Venice itself, with documentary evidence relating to doors. These include building records, guild regulations, architectural treatises and literary and legislative references. Visual evidence of doors from prints and paintings is also used as evidence of decorative schemes and usage.

    On the borderline between public and private, studying the door leads to issues of group and individual identity, privacy, security and health in Renaissance Venice, as well as broader issues of visibility, spatial recognition, human interaction and sensory experience.

    The multiplicity of functions inherent in the door, which aims to both enable and bar access, reveal and conceal, is found repeated in the objects used to decorate it and the uses to which it is put, rendering it anything but the transparent object it might at first appear.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge, 2006
  • Experience

  • Placement, National Art Library, London, 2007; Tour Manager, American Council for International Studies, London, 2005 to present
  • Awards

  • Winner, The Wainwright Award, V&A/RCA Course, 2007; Winner, Modern and Medieval Languages Prize at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 2002