Building on Water: The wealth and architecture of Venice

by Justin Reay

June 22nd

Building on Water: The wealth and architecture of Venice

Venice became rich from trade with the Byzantine empire, but her power was consolidated by her savage sack of Constantinople in 1204.

This enabled the state to extend the city over the waters of the lagoon, not just facing the sea but part of it. The architecture of the new city reflected the influences of the east, distinct from the buildings of medieval and Renaissance Italy.

Justin discusses how trade with the Byzantines, Ottomans and the merchants of the Silk Road created the beautiful city we know today, describing the great buildings including the Piazza San Marco and the Arsenal.

Dr. Justin Reay

After officer service in the Royal Navy and a long career in business Justin on retirement in 2001 studied the History of Art and Architecture at Oxford, and was awarded the University’s Diploma with Distinction.

He frequently lectured and wrote on naval history in this period, and completed a doctoral thesis in naval history at the University of Exeter. From 2002 Justin was senior lecturer in post-graduate marketing at Oxford FE College, is a qualified teacher and has delivered courses in the University of Oxford and UCal Berkeley accredited residential summer schools. In 2011 he was appointed as tutor in the History of Art and Classical Civilisation at Oxford Tutorial College.

Formerly a senior academic manager of the Bodleian Library, Justin is Secretary of the Colloquium of Learned Societies at Oxford. He is a published historian; among his impending works are an edition of Samuel Pepys’s naval papers, and a study of the Admiralty buildings in London, and he is researching maritime art in the National Trust collections.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association, New York, and a member of The Arts Society Cheltenham.

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Images courtesy of Justin Reay and Peter Hughes