The Roman art world in the 18th century and the birth of the art academy in Britain

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Roma • London

The Roman art world in the 18th century and the birth of the art academy in Britain

(BSR, Monday 10 December; Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Tuesday 11 December)

Organised by Adriano Aymonino, Carolina Brook, Gian Paolo Consoli and Thomas-Leo True


On Monday 10 December 2018 the BSR will stage the finale to a celebratory year of nationwide and international exhibitions and events marking the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Our conference is a milestone in a major research initiative to better understand the intellectual history of instruction in the arts. We are studying Italian influences on the emergence of an institutionalized system of education for artists and architects in 18th-century Britain. Paris had captured pole position amongst artistic centres, but national conversations around the teaching of art were still powerfully conditioned by Rome, its intellectual traditions and its pedagogical models.

The conference will show what, how and why Roman ideals infused the curricula of British arts institutions, driven by motivations that ranged from niggling over standards of draughtsmanship to propounding grandiose new national visions. We will hear interpretive studies on painting collections, plaster casts, portfolios of sketches, publications and a range of Rome-inspired teaching materials used to evidence intellectual claims made upon art. This interdisciplinary study also reveals how newly devised pedagogical models in the arts and architecture intersected with cognate studies such as reason and natural philosophy, as well as demonstrating how these related to Roman paradigms.

The Royal Academy was the most illustrious and successful of all fledgling foundations that hatched during the 18th century as the nation strove to create its own modern system of the arts. The structure of our conference, splitting into two sessions labelled Before the Royal Academy of Arts and After the Royal Academy of Arts, reflects the magnitude of the path-breaking development of its foundation. But the course to its creation was not plain sailing, and our keynote speaker, Robin Simon (UCL), will address a century of erratic progress preceding the eventual foundation of a professional academy along European lines in Great Britain.

There were precursors and followers too. Contributors will recover lost episodes and compelling narratives of parallel projects, some with a mayfly lifespan, to formulate theoretical and educational models, or propose new institutions, that held Rome aloft as exemplar. Geographically, the conference will break free from its focus on London to incorporate regional movements, travelling from Oxford to Scotland, enabling a comprehensive reconstruction of the principles, networks and academies, inspired by Rome, which shaped British art and its institutions in the 18th century.

Although at the vanguard of the art world today, the RA was one of the last royal academies to be created in Europe. If the British trailed conspicuously behind in the foundation of an academy for arts, the BSR is punctual in toasting its accomplishments, launching the first day of our conference exactly 250 years to the day since George III signed the Instrument of Foundation.

We are thrilled that the second day of the conference will be held at the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca. There could be no more appropriate partner than the pre-eminent centre for arts education and theory in the Early Modern period and the model for subsequent academies of art worldwide. The bill of fayre will include a tour of the accompanying exhibition Roma-Londra. Scambi, modelli e temi tra l’Accademia di San Luca e la cultura artistica britannica tra XVIII e XIX secolo and, guided by the ethos of interdisciplinarity, proceedings will draw to a close with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ musical meditations on the architectural and mathematical principles on which Borromini’s work is based.

Unlike our 18th-century antecedents, the BSR is open to all! We hope to welcome you there.

 

Thomas-Leo True

 

 

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Meet the Artists…Samuel Hasler / December Mostra 2018

Ahead of the December Mostra as part of our Meet the Artists series, we spoke to Samuel Hasler (Creative Wales-BSR Fellow) about his research into giallo films… and ghosts at the BSR.

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Samuel Hasler (photo by Antonio Palmieri)

Your research at the BSR focuses on Italian cinema, especially on the genre of giallo. How are you developing the study of this cinematographic style?

I came to Rome imagining that I might make work in a certain way, I had written notes towards a sort of giallo screenplay/novella that I was enjoying working on and I imagined I would develop this here. I also brought some low-grade video cameras with half a plan of making some short videos. Inevitably things have moved sideways a little, but giallo cinema and horror cinema is still an influence on the way that I’m putting the work together.

I came up with a working title for a film or text work I Colori Dei Telefoni which to me sounded like the name of a giallo style film, but also it came about after being told about the Telefoni Bianchi films. This got me thinking about phones and their presence in cinema. Phones in giallo films would of course be all different colours, on those 70s film sets of bold colourful design. In horror cinema there is a very specific way in which phones work. They allow contact between our villains and victims with an unknown distance between them. The voice becomes violent and intrusive. The ringing phone becomes an ominous portent.

For a while I thought I’d make a film based on public payphones in the city. I’ve no idea what that film would be. I wanted to make phone calls to the public phones from the BSR and see who answered, but I don’t think Italian payphones work this way, and I don’t speak Italian.

I started recording stuff with my low-grade cameras at night.

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My hands have a natural tremor, it’s very noticeable when recording film. I became interested in the way this would generate a specific quality to the film, and how the autofocus was constantly battling with the jerky movements of the camera. One night there was a tremendous thunderstorm, that went on for hours and I got some beautiful footage of that. I liked the way the camera was struggling to deal with the sudden shifts in light and this got me interested in working with all these limitations. The camera also picks up rain in a particularly clear way. So there was a bunch of interesting textures across the footage I was getting. All filmed at night, mostly in the rain, and as often as possible, in the crashing lights of a thunderstorm.

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So I don’t really know if I did any research in a typical structured way into giallo, or if I’ve done lots more than I was doing before I got here. But the aesthetics of vintage horror, and the atmosphere of these things have been important in the way that I’ve made work.

All the footage I’ve made is black and white. I like the idea that I might make a film called I Colori Dei Telefoni, filmed in black and white, and with no telephones in it.

Sometime before the mostra I’ll watch All The Colours Of The Dark which is a giallo by Sergio Martino, and I’m sure like everything here, it’ll start to feed in.

Visiting the archives you found material belonging to a very important personality for the BSR, Eugenie Sellers Strong, Librarian and Assistant Director from 1909 to 1925. How is the story of this woman having an impact on your research in Rome?

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Eugenie Sellers Strong. Courtesy BSR Archives.

When I heard that the BSR had a ghost I couldn’t resist finding out a bit more about it. I love those trashy television programmes like Most Haunted. The wonky film style and the often lone presenters talking to camera. It all clicks into a range of other work that I’ve made. I love the way those shows present our beautiful fears and the romanticism of nocturnal spaces, but through the most hysterical, crude and idiotic lens.

Anyhow, the British School at Rome is haunted (maybe) by the ghost of Eugenie Strong, who was the first Assistant Director and Librarian of the British School at Rome. She was a formidable character and a huge influence on the organisation as it stands today. I’ve been talking with the brilliant archivist here, Alessandra Giovenco, and hatching plans, maybe for some kind of artwork to develop out of the archive material here. It’s early days on this, but it’s such fertile territory; I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.


Sam’s work will be exhibited alongside the six other resident artists in December Mostra, opening Friday 14 December 18.30-21.00.

Opening hours 16.30-19.00 until Saturday 22 December 2018, closed Sundays.

Photos by Samuel Hasler unless stated otherwise.

Fake inscriptions and the eighteenth-century art market

Caroline Barron is a Rome Awardee at the BSR (October-December 2018) researching fake inscriptions and the eighteenth-century art market, and is about to start a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Birkbeck. Here she tells us about fortuitous encounters with artists and academics, and what she has learned about drawing as part of academic practice.

I couldn’t have imagined before arriving at the BSR that my research into epigraphic forgeries and the eighteenth-century art market would be guided by quite the extraordinary and fortuitous set of circumstances that I’ve been privileged to enjoy in the last eight weeks. I had a list of books to read in the library, the lapidary galleries of the Musei Capitolini and the Vatican to visit, and some archival work to delve into; chance encounters with scholars and sculptors weren’t exactly my top priorities. Fortunately for me, life at the BSR has a way of sending you in precisely the right direction, whether or not that was where you originally intended to go.

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Not-so-fake inscriptions (CIL VI, 6209. Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano)

The research that I have been working on at the BSR is concerned with the fake Latin inscriptions that were produced for sale on the eighteenth-century art market; although there has been a wealth of scholarship on the statuary, busts and reliefs that were collected by the English Grand Tourists visiting Italy at that time, the existing literature has not addressed the lapidary inscriptions that were also acquired. My doctoral thesis sought to readdress that balance, and proposed that although often marginalised by later publications and catalogues of these marbles, Latin inscriptions were present in the overwhelming majority of collections made during the Grand Tour period, and were collected for very specific reasons. That research also uncovered the number of ‘fake’ or modern inscriptions that were present in these collections; whether added to otherwise ancient objects or created outright with the intent to deceive the collector, the number of epigraphic texts that were fabricated specifically for sale is striking, and worth much further investigation. Although the texts of many ‘fake’ inscriptions have been identified as falsae in the volumes of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, they have never been studied as artefacts, meaning that there is still much to discover concerning their provenance, how the texts were constructed and why they were considered attractive acquisitions. Much of my new research is concerned with questions such as did the collectors themselves care whether or not the inscriptions were indeed fakes, if their appearance and text were sufficiently ‘Roman’? What did they consider Roman and why? What sources were the forgers themselves using to compile the texts of the fake inscriptions? And to what extent is it possible to identify the hands of different forgers or their workshops across collections?

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Fragment of a Latin inscription (Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano)

Many of these questions were addressed at a conference I attended in the second week of October in Venice, at Ca’ Foscari; over three days the XXIII Rencontre franco-italienne sur l’épigraphie du monde romain took epigraphic forgeries as its theme (‘Epigrafi di carta, epigrafi di pietra. Il ruolo della tradizione manoscritta nello studio delle iscrizioni genuine e spurie’) with a number of the papers dealing with issues of authorship, originality and the mechanics of identifying fake inscriptions through odd textual constructions and orthography.

I returned to Rome full of ideas but rather overwhelmed by the scale of work ahead. Fortunately, BSR Research Fellow Clare Hornsby was here to provide some much needed direction; her work on the role of Cardinal Albani in the antiquities market of the eighteenth century has coincided very neatly with my research, particularly concerning his involvement in the promotion of inscriptions as valuable collectibles in the early eighteenth century. I was equally pleased to find that Ronald T. Ridley was also visiting Rome from Melbourne, which has allowed me to pursue further research into the antiquarian Francesco de’ Ficoroni and his provision of columbaria inscriptions to Grand Tourists in the early part of the century. Although I have not yet found evidence for Albani or Ficoroni’s involvement in the forgeries trade, being able to talk to both Clare and Ron about their respective activity has helped me to build a much clearer picture of how the art and antiquities market was operating at that time, and how fake inscriptions may have been valued.

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Caroline working on her Halloween costume with Sainsbury Scholar in Painting & Sculpture Anna Brass.

Perhaps the most surprising and collaborative avenue of research came from the rather unlikely source of a Halloween costume; having accepted the generous invitation of the American Academy to attend their Halloween party, it was decided that the only suitable attire would be in the form of a Latin inscription, which I worked on with the kind assistance of the Sainsbury Scholar in Painting & Sculpture, Anna Brass. What initially started out as a bit of fun, in painting the lettering of a fake inscription in the British Museum onto a cardboard box, turned into an extremely productive discussion about the differences in monumental, public and funerary typography. We explored the serifs or characteristic strokes of fake letters compared with genuinely ancient ones through painting, with Anna encouraging me to consider their individual features through visual study; although much epigraphic work is done first hand, looking at the stones, this was the first time that I had attempted to draw the lettering myself, and I found the practice enormously useful in terms of the hand-to-eye muscle memory that it developed, bringing a closer understanding of exactly how those letters had been inscribed. Drawing as part of academic practice is an entirely new approach for the way I work with inscriptions, but one that I intend to continue when I return to London; in January 2019 I will begin a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Birkbeck continuing this work on forgeries, one component of which is the application of digital paleographical tools in my analysis of the fake texts. Rather than relying on the software to identify the characteristics I believe to be fake, a first step will now involve drawing the letters in order to understand the mechanics of their form, which can be translated with greater precision into the digital software. It is these kinds of collaborative opportunities that make the BSR such a unique institution; I can’t think of another department or situation in which artists and scholars are able to converse so freely, and with such productive results.

Caroline Barron (Rome Awardee)

 

 

 

From conflict to peace. Photographs from the John Bryan Ward-Perkins collection

The use of photography to document conflicts and atrocities committed during wars has always been a powerful means to raise public awareness and build momentum towards collective actions, either for the protection of the civilian population or for cultural heritage.

No surprise, then, that the display of photographs from the J.B. Ward-Perkins War Damage series alongside images of contemporary conflicts at the Cultural Heritage protection event recently organised at the British Embassy, triggered a series of questions relating to the urgency and importance of collecting and archiving memories during war time to build best practices for the future and preserve social and cultural legacies.

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Firenze, Ponte S. Trinità, Autunno by G. Caccini, 1944-1946, Ward-Perkins Collection, War Damage Series.

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Itri, S. Maria, campanile, 1943-1946, Ward-Perkins Collection, War Damage Series.

This invaluable photographic collection also piqued the interest of the MuseumPasseier, which has used some of these images in the exhibition Who protects Art in War?, launched in San Leonardo in Passiria in late September.

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The photographs from the War Damage Series were taken or collected by J.B. Ward-Perkins as Deputy Director of the MFA&A (Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives) Sub-Commission for Italy. Nearly 1,100 silver gelatin prints documenting damage to Italian monuments throughout Italy during World War II, spanning the period 1943-1946, are available for consultation on our Digital Collections website.

It was Ward-Perkins’ academic training and knowledge of archaeology and topography that led him to understand the potential value of the material produced during the war for scholarly research. Not only did he secure a copy of the photographs of war damage for the BSR but also over a million air photographs taken by the Royal Air Force, now on permanent loan at the Aerofototeca (ICCD), and a set of maps of Italy produced by the British military. He also left his library, his archive and a collection of over 40,000 images to the BSR.

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John Bryan Ward-Perkins, courtesy of the Ward-Perkins family.

Among these images, it is worth mentioning those that form the South Etruria Survey (1950s-1970s) collection, one of the most important archaeological surveys conducted in Italy, pivotal for our understanding of the archaeological landscape preceding the urban expansion of Rome. These images have drawn the attention of two local communities, Calcata and Castelnuovo di Porto, and led to the installation of two exhibitions.

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Formello, district, Roman road paved with blocks of tufa, the Ponte San Silvestro road, 1954-1968, Ward-Perkins Collection, South Etruria Series.

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Near Belmonte, Castelnuovo di Porto region, 1954-1968, Ward-Perkins Collection, South Etruria Series.

The Calcata exhibition was preceded by a workshop analysing the issue of continuity-discontinuity of urban forms in ancient times with a particular focus on central pre-Roman Italy and the case of Falerii and Volsinii as a consequence of the military events of 264 and 241 BC.

The continuity-discontinuity of ancient times was used as a case study to mirror the events that occurred in the same territory many centuries later, through a royal decree issued in 1935, stating that the village of Calcata should cease to exist. To document the changes (as well as what didn’t change), nearly 50 photographs were selected by the Comune di Calcata in collaboration with other Italian institutions and shown in two exhibitions, the latter of which is still on display at the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia until 3 December.

 

Calcata exhibition at Museo nazionale Etrusco Di Villa Giulia, courtesy of Museo Nazionale Etrusco

At Castelnuovo Fotografia, an initiative curated by Elisabetta Portoghese, a selection of photographs of excavations and archaeological surveys carried out in the area of Castelnuovo di Porto as part of the South Etruria Survey project were exhibited in a three-day event at the end of September alongside other contemporary photographers.

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All in all, a year of successful initiatives and dynamism around the John Bryan Ward-Perkins photographic collection, which follows the reprinting of some early photographs from the Ashby and the Parker collections on the occasion of the exhibition Appia self-portrait. Il mito dell’Appia nella fotografia d’autore launched this year at the end of June.

 

Appia Self-portrait exhibition opening in June 2018 (photos by Alessandra Giovenco)

 

Alessandra Giovenco (Archivist)

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Humanities diary: UCLA DH workshop and British Library Labs

In this blog we asked some of our staff to let us know what they have learnt from some recent international digital humanities workshops and conferences, and how this might shape future research strategies here at the BSR.


Harriet O’Neill (Assistant Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences)43971306145_a5df6ef660_z

Attending two workshops dedicated to the Digital Humanities (DH) within a two-week period was an invaluable opportunity to gain truly international perspectives on the topic. The workshop held at the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (7-8 November) was led by Annelie Rugg and Anthony Caldwell from the UCLA Centre for Digital Humanities and focused on setting-up, running and teaching in a DH lab. Previously I had considered DH primarily as a research methodology. This session gave me a far better understanding of the physical spaces required to run digital projects both now and in the future and inextricably linked to this, ideas on how to foster communities of researchers to use them.

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Alessandra, Harriet and Peter arrive in Helsinki

Anthony Caldwell showed us several imaginative digital heritage projects, including reconstructions of the Chicago World’s Fair (1893). This talk reinforced what might appear to be obvious, that any use of the digital must address and help answer solid research questions rather than being used as an end in itself.

The Helsinki workshop was enriched by the diverse range of speakers who came to the British Library Lab Symposium on 12 November. I felt emboldened by the keynote delivered by Daniel Pett (Head of Digital and IT at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge) to experiment with digital technologies and vitally, consider how users beyond universities can benefit from such experiments particularly those relating to the heritage sector. The award ceremony was a central part of the symposium and drew attention to what makes digital humanities projects successful. The frank discussion of ‘failures’ and the need to document them for future users was much appreciated and revealing. I am now looking forward to building a digital component into my own scholarship and where appropriate supporting our award-holders to do the same, increasing my expertise and experience as we go.


Valerie Scott (Librarian) on the British Library Labs Symposium

Valerie Scott

Digital collections, online and freely available, inspire creative research. This was the message that came across very clearly at the sixth British Library Labs Symposium that showcased innovative projects using the BL’s digital content and data.

This event enables the BL to harvest research projects using material from their own collections, data that is often difficult to capture, by awarding prizes to the winning projects from four categories: Research, Artistic, Commercial and the British Library Staff Award.

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The breadth and range of projects at the symposium was extraordinary and revealed how the same images can be used by artists, creative writers, archaeologists, architects and also a theatre group in different ways, reaching out to different audiences, including students, local communities, children or academics, through a variety of outputs, whether websites, interactive apps or exhibitions.

The Symposium brought home the potential of digital content and reinforced our commitment to supporting research on our own Special Collections which will be enhanced next year through a new scheme of Library and Archive awards.


Alessandra Giovenco (Archivist) on the UCLA DH workshop

AlessandraGiovencoThis workshop was led by UCLA, and among the projects created within the UCLA Lab, I personally found PARIS, Past & Present http://paris.cdh.ucla.edu/ and the Lighthouse of Alexandria: http://etc.ucla.edu/projects/lighthouse-of-alexandria/ very interesting . The basis for the reconstruction of the 3-D models might come from disparate sets of data: they might be coins, plans, visual material, photographs, and for this reason Libraries, Archives and Special Collections are formidable resources.

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To sum up, here are a few things we learnt from the Helsinki conference:-

Why invest in digital scholarship? For small institutions that have started to develop a critical mass of projects of a certain quality by using digital tools or platforms, setting up a Digital Humanities space is a way of supporting a community of scholars across all disciplines. It is also an opportunity to create a scholarly footprint and leverage all the Humanities work generated in a digital dimension.

How to get started? Create a physical hub for a community, a space conceived as neutral territory across disciplines, where everyone can share ideas, knowledge, and expertise with people from different backgrounds.

What kind of resources are needed? Good will and expertise – any DH hub should not be seen as a service centre, but as a facilitating open space, a place where ideas take form and shape, where researchers are the agents of their own projects.  Of course, someone with broad technical and good interpersonal skills would be the ideal point of reference for any sort of digital humanities lab.

At the end of the two-day session, it became more evident that digital technology applied to scholarship in the Humanities can help researchers question huge amounts of data from a different perspective and open up new pathways to interpretation and critique. It does not pose a threat to research methodology but it challenges researchers in developing new modes of analysing datasets.

 


British Library Labs: https://www.bl.uk/projects/british-library-labs

UCLA DH workshop at the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-centre-for-digital-humanities/ucla-dh-workshop-nov-2018

Introducing…Harriet O’Neill, Assistant Director in the Humanities and Social Sciences

43971306145_a5df6ef660_z.jpgI am absolutely delighted to be at the BSR and also in Rome as both the institution and the city are almost perfectly aligned to my research interests. Before joining the BSR as Assistant Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences, I was College and then Exhibitions Curator at Royal Holloway, University of London and I continue my association there as an Honorary Research Associate. Working in a university meant engaging with staff and students from a broad range of academic departments including Modern Languages, Geography and Psychology and fundamentally informed the multidisciplinary approach I have adopted in my own scholarship. Being a curator in a research environment also proved to be a brilliant opportunity to experiment with new approaches to exhibition design and interpretation including the digital skills which help me think about effective ways of sharing and disseminating research. I am thrilled that my new position will allow me to continue with these research interests and work closely with library and archive collections, especially as those at the BSR are so rich.

I am an art historian by training and enjoyed using and developing these skills as the Vivmar Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery where I co-curated Frames in Focus: The Sansovino Frame and assisted with Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art and Painters’ Paintings, as well as undertaking temporary rehangs and delivering gallery talks. This role immediately followed the collaborative PhD I undertook between UCL and the National Gallery entitled ‘Re-framing the Italian Renaissance at the National Gallery’. As the title suggests my research topic was frames and reframing in the literal and the abstract, a subject I shall continue to work on at the BSR. The natural extension of this appears to be hybrid objects and how they operate in space. I also have an interest in scenography and art history and the digital humanities and shall be feeding this into forthcoming events.

Highlights over the last two months include helping to deliver the October Being Human workshop, meeting the new award-holders and travelling to conferences in Venice and Helsinki. I have delivered two conference papers, the first in the UK and the second in Copenhagen, both focusing on art and the sacred environment. But really it is about being in an intellectually stimulating environment with supportive and social colleagues. I have gained so much from rethinking the BSR’s research themes with my fellow Assistant Directors, being supported by Stephen [Milner, BSR Director] with my research plans and thinking about culture as a diplomatic tool. I am also looking forward to developing PhD opportunities and perhaps a CDA project of the type that I benefitted from.

 

Harriet O’Neill (Assistant Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences)

Portrait photo by Antonio Palmieri.

BSR at BMTA 2018

The Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico saw its 21st edition this year with a rich range of events hosted in the breath-taking surroundings of the Parco Archeologico di Paestum (15-18 November 2018). Tourism and cultural heritage stakeholders, cultural associations, publishers, academics and educators from Italy and other Mediterranean countries (and beyond) took the opportunity to display and promote their activities at this annual fair.

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Paestum, Temples of ‘Neptune’ and Hera 

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Andriuolo, Tomb 53: slab with depiction of duel and chariot race

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Rome stand at BMTA 2018 

Among the numerous initiatives that took place over these four days, particular emphasis was put on themes of cultural exchanges and interrelationships. Given the growing climate of political – and cultural – isolation in countries such as Italy, the UK and the USA, archaeology is crying out for the need to reach out rather than to hide behind physical or ideological borders. Indeed, cultural heritage as a universal value knows no boundaries by definition.

The Dialogues on the Archaeology of Magna Graecia and the Ancient Mediterranean focused on the concepts of ‘Identity and Belonging’, by assessing and comparing different interpretative models. The session was chaired by Emanuele Greco (President of the Fondazione Paestum) and Carmine Ampolo (Accademia dei Lincei and Emeritus Professor of the Scuola Normale di Pisa). It featured talks by international scholars who addressed this subject through the perspective of archaeology, history, art history and philosophy.

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Opening of the Dialogues on Magna Graecia and the Mediterranean

Another highlight was the presentation of current archaeological projects in Italy by the foreign institutes in Rome. As customary, this session was run jointly by the Associazione Italiana di Archeologia Classica – AIAC and the Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia, Storia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma. This year’s panel included presentations by Kristian Göransson (President of AIAC and Director of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome), Ria Berg (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae) and Tesse Stek (Reale Istituto Neerlandese di Roma). This wide range of research projects, including those conducted by the BSR, is of crucial importance for fostering international collaborations. The work carried out by these institutes is not just based in Italy, but is also for Italy and, especially, with Italy – an example of the far-reaching impact of cultural and scientific exchanges. Over the past month the BSR has worked with colleagues from Berlin at Morgantina, with the Swedish Institute at Francavilla and with the British Museum in Sudan.

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Panel with the foreign institutes in Rome

Emblematic of this year’s leading theme, one of the principal sessions was dedicated to ‘Intercultural Dialogue as a Universal Value of Identity and Heritage’. Starting with the remembrance of the tragic episodes of the Bardo Museum and the destructions at Palmyra, the discussion was chaired by Stefania Battistini (RAI Tg1 journalist) and featured contributions by Moncef Ben Moussa (Director of the Development of Museums for INP Tunisia), Paolo Verri (Director of the Foundation Matera-Basilicata 2019) and Paolo Matthiae (Director of the archaeological mission in Syria by the University of Rome La Sapienza) among many others. The ‘Khaled al-Asaad Prize 2018’ was awarded to Benjamin Clément (Researcher of Archaeology and Archaeometry at CNRS) for his discovery of the ‘Small Pompeii’ at Vienne (France).

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Discussion on the importance of intercultural dialogue 

Alongside the panels in the two conference venues, the Borsa also hosted a number of events at the Archaeological Museum of Paestum: ‘hands-on’ sessions on archaeological artefacts, re-enactments of ancient production techniques, interactive workshops and meetings with archaeologists for schools and the general public. Walking around the museum display of architectural sculpture from the temples of Paestum and the Heraion at Foce del Sele, visitors could experience the wonders of 3D reconstructions and virtual reality. The exhibition ArcheoVirtual 2018 was co-organized by the CNR ITABC Laboratory of Virtual Reality, the MiBAC General Direction of Museums and BMTA. By stimulating the visitors’ visual senses and perception of ancient monuments, the exhibition was a pleasant way to connect past, present and future, thus making archaeological information easily accessible to a broad audience.

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Virtual reality in the Archaeological Museum of Paestum

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ArcheoVirtual 2018 exhibition

 

Text and photos by Niccolò Mugnai (Research Fellow)