Art History Recentred Decentred - Frank Davis Memorial Lecture

Global Encounters and Art History, 1450-1750

Speaker: Dr Surekha Davies - The John Carter Brown Library


European artistic experience in the early modern period was a global one, increasingly filled with peoples, things, materials, and memories from worlds beyond Europe. Yet the content, chronology, and structure of art history’s European canon has barely changed for the period. Attending to the global dimensions of early modern European artistic experience requires not merely the addition of new themes – such as cultural encounters, exchange, or collecting – or of specialists of extra-European art. Rather, attending fully to Europe’s global experience requires a fundamental reconceptualization of the objects, themes, methods, and questions by which the study of early modern European art takes place. This lecture uses cartography, collecting, and Netherlandish art to articulate three bodies of questions that highlight the limits of the traditional formulation of art history. It then suggests how re-orienting art history so as to foreground such themes opens up new opportunities for the field. The larger stakes of de-centring and re-centring early modern European art are the potential to re-found the discipline in ways that make legible and relevant wider applications of art history’s tools for close looking as well as the continuing relevance of works of ‘art’.

6:30pm, 8 Oct 2018

Monday 8th October 2018, 6.30pm - 7.30pm


The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London