Crusade Propaganda In Word and Image In Early Modern Italy: Niccolò Guidalottos' Panorama of Constantinople (1662)

Edited by Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby - ES38

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This book carefully dissects and contextualizes a vast (6.12 metre x 2.58 metre) seventeenth-century panorama of Constantinople that is not only an exceptional representation of the city, but also an elaborate piece of anti-Ottoman propaganda designed by the Franciscan friar Niccolò Guidalotto da Mondavio. It depicts Constantinople as seen from across the Golden Horn in Galata, throwing new light on both the city and the relationships between the rival Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire. It trumpets the unalloyed Christian zeal of Fra Guidalotto and serves as a fascinating example of visual crusade propaganda against the Ottomans. As such, the panorama is a source of cultural clash, a confrontation point between Venice and the Ottoman Empire.

Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Arts Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel). She is the author of Renaissance Florence in the Rhetoric of Two Popular Preachers: Giovanni Dominici (1356-1419) and Bernardino da Siena (1380-1444) (Brepols, 2001); The Renaissance Pulpit: Art and Preaching in Italy 1400-1550 (Brepols, 2007), published in Italian as Il pulpito toscano tra ‘300 e ‘500 (Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 2009); The Cult of St. Clare of Assisi in Early Modern Italy (Ashgate, 2014); and Predicatori, artisti e santi nella Toscana del Rinascimento (EDIFIR, 2015).

163 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-7727-2183-9
Published: 2016


“This book is innovative and important. It brings to light a rich and complex multi-media source that scholars will want to examine and consider from a number of perspectives. Debby successfully grounds the panorama and the accompanying Vatican Library manuscript in the artistic, religious, political, and intellectual context of its time.”— Nancy Bisaha, Vassar College

“Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby’s careful analysis of Niccolò Guidalotto’s Panorama of Constantinople introduces readers to an early modern world characterized by contradictions between diplomatic necessity and ideological confrontation in the form of prophecy, crusade, and preaching.” – Sean Roberts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar

Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, 39.3 (Summer 2016). pp174-176. Reviewed by David R. Lawrence.

Renaissance Quarterly, 71.2 (Summer 2018). pp695-696. Reviewed by Emanuel Buttigieg. Read as PDF.




1. Biographical Sketch and Historical Background
Niccolò Guidalotto da Mondavio and the Ecclesiastical Community in Constantinople
The Venetian Embassy in Constantinople
The War of Candia
The Reception of the Panorama

2. Word and Image
The Panorama as a Large-Scale Drawing
Description of the Image and the Text
The Nautical Atlas
Memorie turchesche

3. Mapping the City of Constantinople
Medieval Crusade Mapping
City Views in Early Modern Europe
The Views of Constantinople in Western and Ottoman Traditions
The City View in Guidalotto's Panorama

4. Power and Politics
Political Identities and Powers
The Papacy, the Empire, and the Crusades
Dream and Reality

5. Apocalyptic Expectations and Eschatological Prophecy
Prophecy in Word and Image
Sermons and Preaching
The Franciscan Apocalyptic Tradition
The Venetian Eschatological Tradition