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Diplomacy and the arts: classical reception as civilizational encounter


The main goal of the project is the development of a collaborative framework to study the classical reception as a transnational civilizational encounter. To our knowledge such a collaboration does not exist. We intend to frame our civilizational analysis within the field of the history of art and architecture, focussing primarily on the cultural production of Britain and Brazil during the long eighteenth and nineteenth century. During this period, new matrices of cultural, social, political, scientific and economic nature forged new symbolic images of the world, fostered by the rise of modernity, the increased secularisation of society, the emergence of liberalism, the progress of technology, and the success of the capitalist model. The visual arts became the field in which these symbolic images found their most iconic expression. Our starting point will be the re-evaluation of landmark historiographical categories such as the Gothic, Renaissance, Classicism, Baroque, Romanticism and the scholarly traditions subtending their study, paying special attentions to cultural phenomena such as imitation, adaptation, emulation, exploitation, reception and revival as artistic practices. Our discussions will always be informed by a careful scrutiny of material sources. Special attention will be given to the practices of cultural transfer and eclectic antiquarianism. Our final goal would be to ponder the ways in which the transnational implications of these civilizational encounters could help us revise the nationalistic narratives still featured, predominantly and stereotypically, in current cultural diplomatic exchanges. (AU)

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