Courtly Mediators: Global Gifts in Italian Renaissance Collections by Leah R. Clark

19 April 2024

In Person Talk (Lifford Hall, Broadway). This talk will examine the intersections between collecting spaces in the Italian Renaissance courts and the diplomatic exchanges that enabled objects from afar —porcelain, metalwork, textiles —to be viewed, admired, discussed and engaged with, in those collections.

This talk will draw on my recent book, Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World, which argues that the collecting culture of the Renaissance, rather than simply a humanistic enterprise associated with the European roots of the Renaissance, was also underscored by interactions with global material cultures from the Islamic world and beyond.

Leah R. Clark is an Associate Professor and Director of Studies in the History of Art in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford as well as a Fellow at Kellogg College. Her research has explored the mobility and collection of art objects in the fifteenth century, while her more recent work has looked to the global exchange of objects with particular attention to their associated sensorial practices. Her publications include Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance Court: Objects and Exchanges (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects Between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 2023) and co-editor (with Kathleen Christian) of European Art and the Wider World 1350-1550 (Manchester University Press, 2017).

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