Reconstructing Gasparo Balbi's Itinerario


Reconstructing Gasparo Balbi's Itinerario


de Maria, Blake


Gemstones --history
Italy--Venice--social life and customs


Gasparo Balbi was one of the most important, and controversial, members of Venice's thriving lapidary community. The self-described "gioillieri Veneziano" spent nearly a decade traveling throughout the Middle East, India and Asia in search of uncut stones to sell in Venice. He recorded his trip in a journal, which was published in 1590, just two years after he returned to his home in Venice. This exhibition seeks to reconstruct Balbi's journey using illustrations of those sites and places he emphasized during his journey.


de Maria, Blake







Collection Items

Nossa Senhora da Graca Tower
This photograph depicts the ruins of an Augustinian church situated in Chaul. Chaul was an important Portuguese center for trade as early as 1521, but was abandoned in the mid 18th century. The Augustinian church was under construction during…

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Van Heemskerck's pen and brown ink drawing offers one of many reconstructive illustrations of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Van Heemsckerk's image dates to approximately 1570, just a decade prior to Balbi's December 1579 arrival

View of Cannanore on the Malabar Coast
This oil on linen painting depicts the port of Cannanore (Kannur) shortly after the Dutch gained control of the region from the Portuguese in 1663. Balbi visited Cannanore in October 1582.

The Tiger Cave, Elephanta Caves
Balbi visited the Elephanta Caves in 15XX and recorded a lengthy history of the site, linking it specifically with Alexander the Great. In fact, this Hindu monument - situated on an island outside of Mumbai -date to approximately 550 CE.

View of Aleppo
This image of Aleppo appears in the Travel Journal of Ambrosio Bembo. Like Balbi, Bembo too traveled throughout the Middle East and enlisted the assistance of a a French artist to illustrate various cities he visited during his travels. Bembo…

Basrah: The Venice of Iraq
This postcard, printed in the late 1950s, emphasizes the strong visual relationship between Basrah and Venice. Basra is located approximately 65 miles to the North of the Persian Gulf and is characterized by a broad system of canals. The resonance…

Rue Dirieta, Goa
It comes as little surprise that Balbi spent a good deal of time in the Portuguese colony, including the activities that took place daily on the Rua dirieta, the city's main commercial thoroughfare. This dutch engraving captures the hustle and bustle…

Othello's Castle
Othello's castle overlooks the Mediterranean Ocean. It is situated at the eastern most point of the island of Cyprus, in the city of Famagusta. Originally built by the Lusignan family in the 13th century, the fortress was completed renovated when…
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