Historical Studies Seminar Great and Small Illusions

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
plus May, 1315 2019

From 13 to 15 May, the annual study meetings organised by the Institute for the History of the Venetian State and Society will focus on “Great and Small Illusions”. Topics for discussion will include the illusory drive giving rise to the birth of the city; the yearning for the ideal villa; the expectations aroused by modernity; and the ambitions underlying the cardinalate in the 16th century.
Pointing out that illusions, whether accompanied or not by delusions, are a fundamental feature of the human condition is obvious but not banal. Hence the five half-day sessions of the seminar on the theme of great and small illusions, historically found in various geo-historical areas of the Italian peninsula. For example, the great illusion running  through the history of Venice of its unique birth for an exceptional destiny – a great illusion that we are tempted to describe as collective. Then there are the illusions woven into individual events, such as those that fuelled Pietro Bembo’s aspirations to don the cardinal’s purple.