The Cultural Exchanges between Italy and Portugal, c. 1400-1750

Dr. Alexander Röstel

In recent decades, research into the global context of the artistic production and consumption in the early modern period has gathered considerable momentum. The kingdom of Portugal, with its vast overseas terriories, played a major role in this development. However, related studies have rarely transgressed regional or national boundaries, language barriers further hampering scholarly dissemination. This project aims to address the imbalance between the scarcity of publications in languages other than Portuguese and the wealth of material at hand. By concentrating on the cultural exchanges between Portugal and Italy, it is hoped that a fuller picture of both sides will emerge.
Individual case studies are selected so as to create a both diverse and representative account that spans more than three centuries. Such a broad chronological range needs to answer to shifting political and economic circumstances. Crucially, relations with Portugal entailed access to the New World. Hence, this project will cover a variety of objects, including not only paintings, sculptures, maps, prints and drawings, metalwork, ceramics, books and illuminated manuscripts, but also parrots, feathers, ivories, elephants and bezoar stones. Italian archives offer unique tools to contextualise some of these objects. Their considerable holdings are valuable not least in light of the loss of archival material in Portugal.
The focus during the postdoctoral fellowship at the Biblioteca Hertziana is on Roman material, which broadly falls into three interrelated categories: the relationship between the Vatican and the House of Aviz, the patronage of Portuguese Cardinals and the church of S. Antonio dei Portoghesi and its communities.

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