Collecting & Display (100BC to AD1700)
Collecting East & West
25-29 June 2009, Florence, Italy
The history of collecting is becoming an increasingly important field of cultural history, attracting specialists from a wide range of disciplines, such as art historians, archaeologists, court and book historians. Thus it functions as a forum for interdisciplinary discussion unparalleled by most other fields of research.
Collections usually concentrate on what is rare and hard to come by. This rarity may refer to the age or the material of the collected objects but frequently is a condition resulting from the objectís exotic origins. As the differences between remote countries were not understood, it was natural to attribute romantic stories and magical powers to objects, enhancing their importance and the prestige of the collector at the same time. Merchants, explorers, warriors, and pirates travelled widely and we can look back at a long history of imported treasures in the collections of European princes. The Medici, for example, started collecting porcelain in the fifteenth century. Objects from the New World found their way into European collections from the early sixteenth century onwards. Weapons from the Near East formed an important part of any princely Armoury north and south of the Alps. Perhaps less well known is that in China collections of European art and armour were amassed by the Emperors of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
This conference means to look at imported objects, whether artworks, antiquities, plants, or books, in collections in Europe and elsewhere. The mechanisms of import and distribution of the objects will be addressed, and so will be the contribution collections of such pieces made towards improving the knowledge about foreign countries and people.
For further information about the conference and the working group Collecting & Display, please contact the convenors at email@example.com or consult our website www.collectinganddisplay.com.
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