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This article is about the type of Italian leader. For the meme, see Doge (meme). For other uses, see Doge (disambiguation).
Leonardo Loredan (1501), Doge of Venice, by Giovanni Bellini

A doge (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdɔːdʒe]; plural dogi or doges) was an elected, chief-of-state lordship, the ruler of the republic in many of the Italian city-states during the medieval and renaissance periods, in the Italian "crowned republics".[1]


The word is from a Venetian[2] word that descends from the Latin dux (as do the English duke and the standard Italian duce and duca), meaning "leader", especially in a military context. The wife of a doge is styled a dogaressa.


The title of doge was used for the elected chief of state in a number of Italian "crowned republics". The two best known such republics were Venice (where he was sometimes called a Doxe) and Genoa (where he was called a Duxe[3] pr. /dyːʒe/ ), which rivalled each other, and the other regional great powers, by building their historical city-states into maritime, commercial, and territorial mini-empires.

Other Italian republics to have doges were Amalfi and the small town of Senarica.

In several writings of Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, he proposed that the future Jewish State take the title of "Doge" for its head of state – but this was not taken up by the actual state of Israel.[citation needed]

Representation in art

Venice, especially during the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, was a major centre of art and developed a unique style known as the Venetian School. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Venice, along with Florence and Rome, became one of the most important centres of art in Europe, and numerous wealthy Venetians became patrons of the arts. Venice at the time was a rich and prosperous maritime republic, which controlled a vast sea and trade empire.[4] In the 16th century, Venetian painting was developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of the van Eyck brothers. It is signified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour. Early masters were the Bellini and Vivarini families, followed by Giorgione and Titian, then Tintoretto and Veronese. In the early 16th century, also, there was rivalry between whether Venetian painting should use disegno or colorito.[5] This is the main reason why there is a huge number[clarification needed] of paintings left depicting the different doges of Venice, while there are only a few of the doges of Genoa and Amalfi.

See also


  1. ^ Italian states to 1861 P-V, Italian states
  2. ^ Chambers English Dictionary, entry for doge
  3. ^ Gio. Giacomo Cavallo - La cetra genovese - 1630, p. 154: Ballin ambasciou dri pescuei a ro serenissimo Zorzo Centurion, Duxe dra Repubrica de Zena
  4. ^ "The Renaissance in Venice – Art History Basics on the Venetian School – ca 1450–1600". 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Venetian art around 1500". Retrieved 2 December 2013.