Christopher Johns to Lecture in Rome at International Conference

Christopher Johns,┬áNorman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Professor of History of Art, will present a research paper on chinoiserie at the international conference “Torino Britannica,” held June 19-22 at the British School in Rome and the Centro di Studi di Venaria Reale in Turin. This interdisciplinary conference will examine a neglected aspect of eighteenth-century Grand Tour culture; namely, the role of Turin, capital city of the Piedmont-Savoy polity, in cultural and intellectual exchanges between the British Isles and Italy in the Age of Enlightenment. One of the sponsors of the conference is the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in London.

In his paper, “Chinoiserie in Piedmont: An International Language of Diplomacy and Modernity,” Johns attempts to situate the widespread deployment of chinoiserie art and decoration in several Savoyard royal residences as not only a sign of exoticist fantasy and Rococo caprice but, much more importantly, as a signifier of the new dynasty’s aspirations to ally itself visually with other leading western European royal houses that frequently turned to chinoiserie as a fashionable mode redolent of colonial ambitions, global trade networks, and engagement with non-western cultures.

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