New Book | The Conversation Piece

Posted in books by internjmb on September 30, 2017

From Yale UP:

Kate Retford, The Conversation Piece: Making Modern Art in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2017), 440 pages, ISBN: 978 030019 4807, $75.

Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) and his peers in the early eighteenth century, and then revitalized by Johan Zoffany (1733–1810), the conversation piece was an innovative mode of portraiture, depicting groups posed in landscape or domestic settings. These artists grappled with creating complex multi-figured compositions and intricate narratives, filling their paintings with representations of socially, nationally, and temporally precise customs. Paying particular attention to the vibrant (and at times fabricated) interior and exterior settings in these works, Kate Retford discusses the various ways that the conversation piece engaged with the rich material culture of Georgian Britain. The book also explores how these portraits served a wide array of interests and concerns among familial networks and larger social groups. From codifying performances of politeness to engaging in cross-cultural exchanges, the conversation piece was a complex and nuanced expression of a multifaceted society.

Kate Retford is senior lecturer in 18th- and early 19th-century art at Birkbeck, University of London.





Survey of Scholarly Reading Practices

Posted in opportunities, resources by Editor on September 29, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (formerly, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century) is undertaking our first-ever reader survey, and we are seeking your help to complete the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment survey of scholarly reading practices.

Published by the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford, the Studies has been publishing scholarly work on the Enlightenment since 1955. This longevity is due in good part to its strong bond with you—our readers, authors and reviewers. As we move forward into our seventh decade, the editorial team seeks to ensure that we continue to publish innovative research on topics at the forefront of the field—and to make this work as widely accessible as possible. Hence we are asking, in this survey, how our community accesses scholarship—both print and digital. The survey requires fewer than 15 minutes to complete and can be taken in either English or French. It opens for responses on Wednesday, September 27, and will remain open until Sunday, October 29.

No identifying information about respondents will be retained outside of the survey responses. All responses will be kept anonymous and confidential. Aggregated findings will be shared with the scholarly community in due course. Further details concerning the survey are available here.

To take the survey, please follow this link: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment survey of scholarly reading practices

In recognition of your commitment to Enlightenment values of tolerance and international humanism, the Voltaire Foundation will make charitable contributions to Amnesty International and Médecins Sans Frontières, for each survey completed.

Please address any questions or concerns to Gregory.Brown@voltaire.ox.ac.uk. Thank you for your support of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment!

Exhibition | Opera: Passion, Power, and Politics

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 29, 2017

Press release for the exhibition opening this weekend at the V&A:

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 30 September 2017 — 25 February 2018

Curated by Kate Bailey

This autumn the Victoria and Albert Museum, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, will create a vivid and immersive journey through nearly 400 years of opera, exploring its passion, power and politics. The only exhibition ever to explore opera on a grand scale, it will immerse visitors in some key moments of the history of European opera from its roots in Renaissance Italy to its present-day form, by focusing on seven operatic premieres in seven cities. It will reveal how opera brings together multiple art forms to create a multi-sensory work of art, and show how social, political, artistic and economic factors interact with great moments in the history of opera to tell a story of Europe over hundreds of years.

More than 300 extraordinary objects, including important international loans, will be shown alongside digital footage of compelling opera performances. Objects on display include Salvador Dali’s costume design for Peter Brook’s 1949 production of Salome; Music in the Tuileries Gardens by Edouard Manet, a masterpiece of modernist painting contextualising Wagner’s modern approach to music in 1860s Paris; the original score of Verdi’s Nabucco from the Archivio Storico Ricordi in Milan; and one of two surviving scores from the first public opera (L’incoronazione di Poppea) will be on display. Original material from the 1934 St Petersburg premiere of Shostakovich’s avant-garde Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk will be reunited and displayed outside Russia for the first time: these include the composer’s original autograph score, along with stage directions, libretto, set models and costume designs.

World-leading opera performances will be played via headphones, dynamically changing as you explore the cities and objects, to create an evocative and fully immersive sound experience. The exhibition will include a powerful new recording of the Royal Opera Chorus singing ‘Va pensiero’ (the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, experienced in a 360-degree sound installation.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics will be the first exhibition staged in the V&A’s purpose-built Sainsbury Gallery, one of the largest exhibition spaces in Europe, opening beneath the new Sackler Courtyard as part of the Exhibition Road Building Project. It will be accompanied by live events and other digital initiatives from BBC Arts in collaboration with the V&A, Royal Opera House and high-profile opera companies from across the UK to convey opera to a wider audience. To coincide, BBC Music will be working with the V&A interpreting themes from the exhibition across television and radio, including a landmark BBC Two documentary series exploring many of the same operas and cities, presented by Lucy Worsley and featuring The Royal Opera’s Music Director and Music Director of the V&A exhibition, Sir Antonio Pappano. Other activity will include live outside broadcasts, recordings of live performances of all seven featured operas on BBC Radio 3, and episodes of its flagship In Tune and Music Matters programmes—broadcast live from the museum. A partnership with King’s College London, the Royal Opera House and the V&A will create a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) introducing the core tenets of opera.

Kate Bailey, V&A curator of the exhibition, said: “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics will be an ambitious exhibition from the V&A, the world-leader in innovative performance exhibitions. We are delighted to be working so closely with the Royal Opera House, drawing together their expertise with the V&A’s broad collections to bring the total art form of opera to life in a stunning new space.”

Kasper Holten, The Royal Opera’s outgoing Director of Opera, said: “One of the first things I did when I arrived in London in 2011 was to reach out to leaders of other important cultural organisations. But I could not have imagined then that my first meeting with Martin Roth (then director of the V&A) would have resulted in an incredible collaborative journey that now results in this marvellous and immersive exhibition being born. The exhibition will show us opera as the soundtrack to the history of Europe. We hope to show audiences—both those in love with opera already and those who are still missing out—that the art form is alive and kicking and has as much to say to the society around it today as it did 400 years ago.”

The seven cities and premieres are:

Venice — Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, 1642. The narrative of the exhibition will begin in Venice, a Renaissance centre of entertainment, gambling and disguise, with a sumptuous painting of composer Barbara Strozzi depicted as a courtesan. The original surviving manuscript score of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea—an opera exploring scandal and ambition, which premiered in Venice’s Carnival season 1642-43—represents opera’s transition from private court entertainment to the public realm.

Louis François Roubiliac, George Frideric Handel, before 1738, terracota (The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, M.3-1922).

London — Handel’s Rinaldo, 1711. In 1711 Handel’s Rinaldo was premiered—one of the first Italian language operas performed in London, as the city emerged as a global trade centre. A dramatic, kinetic set will re-create the premiere’s elaborate staging, which caused a sensation at the time. The fashion for castrat0 singers will be shown through paintings and rare surviving costumes. Tensions at the time between the incoming European-inspired opera and traditional theatre are highlighted in a Hogarth engraving depicting crowds attending the opera as Shakespeare’s plays are wheeled away.

Vienna — Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, 1786. Mozart’s comic opera Le nozze di Figaro premiered in 1786 in Vienna, a centre of the Enlightenment. Its characters were drawn from everyday life and the singers wore contemporary costume on stage. Fashionable dress as worn by Mozart’s Count and Countess Almaviva will be on display. The role of the composer will be examined through the figure of Mozart, and a piano he played on a visit to Prague will travel for the first time for the exhibition.

Milan — Verdi’s Nabucco, 1842. The growing importance of the chorus is explored through Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco which premiered in Milan in 1842. The opera’s ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’ (‘Va pensiero’) became an unofficial national anthem for Italy after the events of the Risorgimento led to the country’s unification.

Paris — Wagner’s Tannhäuser, 1861. In the 1860s opera enjoyed a high status in Paris, a city undergoing huge transformations. The 1861 Paris premiere of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser, which he had revised specially for performances in the city, polarised audiences, but Wagner’s vision for the art form proved inspirational for artists and writers.

Dresden — Strauss’s Salome, 1905. Richard Strauss’s explosive modernist opera Salome premiered in 1905 in Dresden, a progressive city in the grip of artistic expressionism, as depicted in Erich Heckel’s painting of the suburbs. The opera’s reception and the shifting perceptions of women that the story reflected will be examined. The exhibition also includes many depictions of Salome, from Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations to a Versace costume design.

St Petersburg — Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, 1934. The final opera explored in detail is Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Initially embraced by audiences at its St Petersburg premiere in 1934 as an expression of new Soviet opera, it was banned under political censorship in 1936. Shostakovich did not write another opera. Both avant-garde and propaganda material will be on display alongside a painting inspired by Shostakovich’s First Symphony by Pavel Filonov, rarely seen outside Russia.

Footage from 20th- and 21st-century premieres will create a finale showing how opera has moved from Europe across the world and continues to take on new forms. The operas include Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach, Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht, and George Benjamin’s Written on Skin.

Kate Bailey, ed., Opera: Passion, Power, Politics (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 304 pages, ISBN: 9781851779284, $75.



Exhibition | The Princes of Rambouillet: Family Portraits

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 28, 2017

From Versailles:

The Princes of Rambouillet: Family Portraits
Château de Versailles, 15 September 2017 — 22 January 2018

On the occasion of the reopening of the Château de Rambouillet, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and the Palace of Versailles present the The Princes of Rambouillet: Family Portraits, on view from 15 September 2017 to 22 January 2018. Ten or so portraits from the collections of the Palace of Versailles will cast a spotlight on the Bourbon-Toulouse-Penthièvre family, who owned Rambouillet for almost all of the 18th century. The château was embellished and the estate largely extended over two generations, first by the Count of Toulouse, the legitimated son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan who bought the marquisate of Rambouillet from Fleuriau d’Armenonville in 1706, and then by his son, the Duke of Penthièvre, who was obliged to part with the estate in 1783 upon command by Louis XVI.

The exhibition will feature famous works such as the Portrait of the Count of Toulouse as a Sleeping Putto by Mignard and the famous Cup of Hot Chocolate by Charpentier, alongside lesser-known but just as evocative portraits like that of the Princess of Lamballe by Ducreux or the Duke of Valois in the Cradle by Lépicié, the latter being displayed for the first time since its recent purchase by the Palace of Versailles.

Raphaël Masson, Les Princes de Rambouillet: Portraits de Famille (Paris: Éditions du Patrimoine, 2017), 36 pages, ISBN : 9782757705742, 6€.

Lunch Lecture | Ulrich Leben on German Cabinetmakers in Paris

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 28, 2017

Upcoming at the BGC (the lecture is scheduled to be livestreamed; see the website for details). . .

Ulrich Leben, Cabinetmakers of German Origin in Eighteenth-Century Paris
A Chapter in European History of Migration and Transfer of Knowledge and Craft in the Age of Enlightenment

Bard Graduate Center, New York, 9 October 2017

Ulrich Leben will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Monday, October 9, at 12:15pm. His talk is entitled “Cabinetmakers of German Origin in Eighteenth-Century Paris: A Chapter in European History of Migration and Transfer of Knowledge and Craft in the Age of Enlightenment.”

The fact that a large number of cabinetmakers working in Paris during the eighteenth century were of German origin is well known. It is therefore surprising that there has never been research on the lives and work of these more than one hundred craftsmen. This talk will present various aspects of a project currently being undertaken by Dr. Ulrich Leben and Miriam Schefzyk on these craftsmen and provide insight into archive-based research in France and abroad exploring questions regarding social, economic, and cultural circumstances. A major goal of this project is the publication of a dictionary of these craftsmen that will be a tool for further work in the field.

E. Ulrich Leben is an independent art historian based in Paris and Associate Curator for the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. He teaches classes on French and German decorative arts and interior architecture for the European programs of Parsons, The New School. From 2010 to 2015 he was Visiting Professor and Special Exhibitions Curator at Bard Graduate Center, where in 2013 he co-curated the exhibition Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. After an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker in Germany he studied the History of Art at the École du Louvre in Paris and received his PhD at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelm Universität in Bonn. He is the author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogues on the history of French and German interiors and furniture design.

Call for Nominations | Eldredge Book Prize

Posted in opportunities by Editor on September 28, 2017

2018 Charles C. Eldredge Prize
Nominations due by 1 December 2017

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Charles C. Eldredge Prize. The prize is given annually by the museum for outstanding scholarship in the field of American art. A cash award of $3,000 is made to the author of a recent book-length publication that provides new insights into works of art, the artists who made them, or aspects of history and theory that enrich our understanding of the artistic heritage of the United States. The Eldredge Prize seeks to recognize originality and thoroughness of research, excellence of writing, clarity of method, and significance for professional or public audiences. It is especially meant to honor those authors who deepen or focus debates in the field, or who broaden the discipline by reaching beyond traditional boundaries.

Single-author books devoted to any aspect of the visual arts of the United States and published in the three previous calendar years (2015–2017) are eligible. To nominate a book, please send a one-page letter explaining the work’s significance to the field of American art history and discussing the quality of the author’s scholarship and methodology. Nominations by authors or publishers for their own books will not be considered. The deadline for nominations is December 1, 2017. Please send them to: The Charles C. Eldredge Prize, Research and Scholars Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 970, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012. Nominations will also be accepted by email: eldredge@si.edu, or fax: (202) 633-8373. Further information about the prize may be found here.

New Book | Longford Castle

Posted in books by Editor on September 27, 2017

With the Bouverie family’s purchase of Longford Castle in 1717, the launch of the book coincides with the tercentenary of the family’s ownership of the house. From Unicorn Publishing:

Amelia Smith, Longford Castle: The Treasures and the Collectors (London: Unicorn Publishing, 2017), 208 pages, ISBN: 9781910787687, £40.

Longford Castle is a fine Elizabethan country house, home to a world-class collection of art built up in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the Bouverie family and still owned today by their descendants. Until now, it has been relatively less known amongst the pantheon of English country houses. This book, richly illustrated and based on extensive scholarly research into the family archive, tells a comprehensive story of the collectors who amassed these treasures. It explores the acquisition and commission of works of art from Holbein’s Erasmus and The Ambassadors, to exquisite landscapes by Claude and Poussin, and family portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. It explores how Longford, an unusual triangular-shaped castle that inspired Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and Disney’s The Princess Diaries, was decorated and furnished to house these works of fine art. The book brings the story up to the present day, with an introduction and conclusion by the current owner, the 9th Earl of Radnor, himself a keen collector of art, to celebrate this remarkable house and collection.

Amelia Smith grew up in Surrey and attended university in London. She recently completed a PhD on the Longford Castle art collections at Birkbeck College in collaboration with the National Gallery. Amelia Smith graduated in 2012 with a first class degree in History of Art from University College London, where she was awarded the Gombrich Prize and Zilkha Prize. She went on to gain an MA in Curating the Art Museum at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2013 and undertook a curatorial internship at the National Portrait Gallery, researching for the exhibition The Great War in Portraits (2014).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From the National Gallery:

Longford Castle: Past and Present
National Gallery, London, Friday, 13 October 2017, 6pm

Join art historian Amelia Smith as she introduces her new book on Longford Castle, its treasures and its collectors, and also Lord Radnor, the castle’s owner, in discussion about his current art collecting. The evening begins with a short interview between Lord Radnor and Susanna Avery-Quash. Amelia Smith’s lecture will follow, and the event will end with a drinks reception, where you will have the opportunity to buy a copy of Smith’s book, signed by the author. The event is free, though tickets are required.

Longford Castle sits on the banks of the River Avon in Wiltshire and is home to a world-class collection including works by Holbein, Claude, Poussin, Gainsborough, and Reynolds. The National Gallery has a long-standing relationship with the Castle, having acquired and enjoyed works of art from its collection over the years. In recent years, visitors have enjoyed guided tours of the Castle, organised by the Gallery.




New Book | John Baskerville: Art and Industry

Posted in books by Editor on September 26, 2017

From Liverpool UP: (with a book launch scheduled for Sunday, 8 October, at 5pm at Waterstone’s Birmingham).

Caroline Archer-Parré and Malcolm Dick, John Baskerville: Art and Industry in the Enlightenment (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017), 288 pages, ISBN: 978 17869 40643, £80.

This book is concerned with the eighteenth-century typographer, printer, industrialist, and Enlightenment figure John Baskerville (1707–1775). Baskerville was a Birmingham inventor, entrepreneur, and artist with a worldwide reputation who made eighteenth-century Birmingham a city without typographic equal, by changing the course of type design. Baskerville not only designed one of the world’s most historically important typefaces; he also experimented with casting and setting type, improved the construction of the printing-press, developed a new kind of paper, and refined the quality of printing inks. His typographic experiments put him ahead of his time, had an international impact, and did much to enhance the printing and publishing industries of his day. Yet despite his importance, fame, and influence many aspects of Baskerville’s work and life remain unexplored and his contribution to the arts, industry, culture, and society of the Enlightenment are largely unrecognized. Moreover, recent scholarly research in archaeology, art and design, history, literary studies, and typography is leading to a fundamental reassessment of many aspects of Baskerville’s life and impact, including his birthplace, his work as an industrialist, the networks which sustained him, and the reception of his printing in Britain and overseas. The last major, but inadequate publication of Baskerville dates from 1975. Now, forty years on, the time is ripe for a new book. This interdisciplinary approach provides an original contribution to printing history, eighteenth-century studies, and the dissemination of ideas.

Caroline Archer-Parré is Professor of Typography at Birmingham City University, Director of the Centre for Printing History & Culture and Chairman of the Baskerville Society. She is the author of The Kynoch Press, 1876–1982: The Anatomy of a Printing House (British Library, 2000); Paris Underground (MBP, 2004); and Tart Cards: London’s Illicit Advertising Art (MBP, 2003). Caroline is currently Co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Letterpress Printing: past, present, future’.

Malcolm Dick is Director of the Centre for West Midlands History at the University of Birmingham. He directed two history projects in Birmingham between 2000 and 2004: the ‘Millennibrum Project’, which created a multi-media archive of post-1945 Birmingham history, and ‘Revolutionary Players’, which produced an online resource of the history of the West Midlands region. Malcolm has published books on Joseph Priestley, Matthew Boulton, and the history of Birmingham; he co-directs the Centre for Printing History & Culture.


List of Figures
Baskerville Family Tree

Introduction: John Baskerville: Art and Industry of the Enlightenment, Caroline Archer-Parré and Malcolm Dick
1  The Topographies of a Typographer: Mapping John Baskerville since the Eighteenth Century, Malcolm Dick
2  Baskerville’s Birmingham: Printing and the EnglishUrban Renaissance, John Hinks
3  Place, Home and Workplace: Baskerville’s Birthplace and Buildings, George Demidowicz
4  John Baskerville: Japanner of ‘Tea Trays and other Household Goods’, Yvonne Jones
5  John Baskerville, William Hutton and their Social Networks, Susan Whyman
6  John Baskerville the Writing Master: Calligraphy and Type in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Ewan Clayton
7  A Reappraisal of Baskerville’s Greek Types, Gerry Leonidas
8  John Baskerville’s Decorated Papers, Barry McKay and Diana Patterson
9  The ‘Baskerville Bindings’, Aurélie Martin
10  After the ‘Perfect Book’: English Printers and their Use of Baskerville’s Type, 1767–90, Martin Killeen
11  The Cambridge Cult of the Baskerville Press, Caroline Archer-Parre

Appendix 1 The ‘Baskerville Bindings’
Appendix 2 Members of the Baskerville Club
Appendix 3 Comparative Bibliography

Further Reading
General Bibliography
Notes on the Contributors

Colloquium | Eighteenth-Century Court Culture

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 25, 2017

From Munich’s Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte:

Hofkultur des 18. Jahrhunderts
Teil I: Dresden, Nymphenburg, Benrath: Schlösser und Bäder
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, Munich, 25 October 2017

17.30  Peter Heinrich Jahn (Dresden/München), ‘Die Begierde, den Beifall aller zu erheischen, lässt ihn häufig den Plan ändern’: Der Dresdner Zwinger als Planungsproblem

Der berühmte Dresdner Zwinger war 1709 als Orangeriegarten des benachbarten Residenzschlosses begonnen worden und endete zwei Jahrzehnte später nach mehreren Konzeptwechseln, ohne dass die Ursprungsfunktion jemals aufgegeben worden wäre, als unvollendet gebliebenes Sammlungsgebäude, das einen Turnierplatz umschloss. Als sprunghaft agierender Dilettantenarchitekt war der als August der Starke bekannte königliche Auftraggeber Impulsgeber für zahlreiche „Planungsprobleme“, die sein Hofarchitekt Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann durch In-die-Form-Bringen zu lösen hatte. Das heutzutage in durcheinander geratener Ordnung überlieferte historische Planmaterial zum Dresdner Zwinger lässt dessen kunsthistorische Auswertung ebenfalls zu einem „Planungsproblem“ werden, das durch Rekonstruktion einer logischen Planungsabfolge gelöst werden will.

18.30 Kristina Deutsch (Münster), Zwischen Rückzug und Repräsentation: Schlossbäder der Wittelsbacher in Nymphenburg und Benrath

Keine andere Dynastie des Alten Reichs hat uns so viele Schlossbäder hinterlassen, wie die Wittelsbacher. Diese sehr kunstvoll gestalteten Räume waren als Orte des Rückzugs konzipiert, zuweilen dienten sie aber auch gesellschaftlichen Anlässen. In beiden Fällen vermitteln Architektur und Ausstattung höfischer Bäder ein bestimmtes Bild des Herrschers oder der Herrscherin, das es im Rückgriff auf die tatsächliche Nutzung zu analysieren gilt.

Hofkultur des 18. Jahrhunderts
Teil II: Rom und Paris in Schwerin: Jean-Laurent Le Geay (1710–1786), Architektur und Gartenkunst
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, Munich, 6 December 2017

16.30  Johannes Erichsen (München), Jean-Laurent Le Geay: Architektur für den Schweriner Hof und die Quellen der Inspiration

17.30  Iris Lauterbach (München), Le spectacle de la nature: Die Gärten des Schweriner Hofes im 18. Jahrhundert im europäischen Kontext

18.30  Hans Lange (München), Die grüne Pyramide für Ludwigslust

19.00  Sigrid Puntigam (Schwerin), Herzog Friedrich von Mecklenburg-Schwerin als dilettierender Architekt

Die Teilnahme ist frei. Wir bitten um Ihre Anmeldung unter hofkultur@zikg.eu.


New Book | Eighteenth-Century Neapolitan Staircases

Posted in books by Editor on September 25, 2017

From ArtBooks.com:

Dirk De Meyer, Eighteenth-Century Neapolitan Staircases: Showpiece and Utility (Gent: A&S Books, 2017), 128 pages, ISBN: 978 90767 14493, $48.

Eighteenth-century Neapolitan staircases present a shift from the traditional, monumental Baroque palace stairs towards the staircase serving four, five, or more levels of apartments of different social standing. While prefiguring stairs in modern apartment buildings, they solve issues of aristocratic etiquette as well as practical plan arrangements. They are showpiece and utility in one. At times grand and imposing, at times cramped in tapered courtyards, these staircases are numerous and disparate in form. Eighteenth-Century Neapolitan Staircases: Showpiece and Utility documents seven sets of stairs by Neapolitan architects such as Ferdinando Sanfelice. It is the outcome of a master seminar in Architectural History at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Ghent University.

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