Sogno e realtà: Italian Orientalist Painting

Research Seminar

  • Public event without registration
  • Datum: 13.05.2024
  • Uhrzeit: 11:00 - 13:00
  • Vortragender: Peter Benson Miller
  • Ort: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rome and online
  • Kontakt:
<i>Sogno e realtà</i>: Italian Orientalist Painting
The distinction between truth and fantasy has long structured studies of Orientalist painting in the Italian sphere. This lecture explores critical and historiographical blind spots regarding this problematic genre from the nineteenth century to the postcolonial era.

In the catalogue to the Seconda Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Coloniale in Naples in 1934, the artistic commissioner, Michele Biancale – referring to a retrospective exhibition featuring works by Alberto Pasini and Domenico Morelli, among others – insisted that arte coloniale, based on direct experience, was concrete and ‘verista’, whereas arte orientalista, obeying the romantic imagination, belonged to the realm of fantasy. The conception of these categories as mutually exclusive has had longstanding implications. Addressing critical reception, museum display, and postcolonial reckoning, or lack of it, this lecture reconsiders paintings by Pasini, Morelli, and Aldo Pagliacci.

This seminar is the third event of the research seminar series “Colonial Objects and the Museum”. The lecture series explores the circulation of colonial objects and their relationship with the museum in a diachronic perspective. Focusing on objects ranging from looted artifacts to works of art produced in colonial contexts, the series addresses issues of artistic exchange, diplomatic controversy, restitution, archival practice, and display. Involving scholars and curators, the series aims to promote a transnational discussion on colonialisms and decolonial theories and practices.

Peter Benson Miller: Curator at the Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio, Miller teaches for the Masters of Art program at LUISS Business School, in Rome. From 2013 to 2019, he was the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. His essays on Orientalist painting have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and exhibition catalogues. His book, Americans in Postwar Rome: Art and Cultural Exchange, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

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Scientific Organization: Carmen Belmonte, Research Unit: Decolonizing Italian Visual and Material Culture

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