Research-2014

Exporting objects, developing style

Italian art and design after Unification: the circulation and exportation of Italian art and design (1875-1909)

The project, led by Paolo Coen (University of Calabria), Joanna Kostylo (British School at Rome) and Agostino Attanasio (Sovraintendente, Archivio Centrale dello Stato), will analyse rich and previously untapped source material from the Archivio Centrale dello Stato, namely the export licenses granted by the Italian State for the exportation of antique and ‘modern’ works of art, decorative arts, furniture and other commodities between the years 1872 and 1909.

The first stage of the project is to create a database of these unknown export records in order to reveal its enormous potential as a historical resource for the study of the movement of art objects, which is difficult to document in earlier periods. These documents contain invaluable information on the quantities and nature of exported objects, their origins and destinations, their artistic and economic value, as well as the identity of art dealers and collectors and the role of the artists in this international movement of art.

The movement of art was a part of the Grand Tour phenomenon and the project will trace continuities and changes in the Roman production and marketing of Italian art and design in order to contribute to the larger history of an international taste and consumption of Italian art and design from the Grand Tour to modernity.

The broader scope of the project is to analyse the demand for and supply of the works of Italian art and design within Europe and across the globe, including Americas, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and to assess its impact on the local tastes, connoisseurship, the fine and applied arts, architecture and interior design and, in the long term, on the establishment of major museum and private collections.

Please click here to read an overview of the project in Arte Magazine