Online Lecture | Gem Impressions in the Portuguese Royal Collections

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on July 16, 2021

From the registration page: 

Ana Mónica da Silva Rolo and Noé Conejo Delgado, A Dactyliothec from Pietro Bracci in the Portuguese Royal Family’s Collections
Wallace Collection Seminars on the History of Collections and Collecting
Online, Monday, 26 July 2021, 17.30

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in Europe, the versatile education of erudite elites was indispensable to and synonymous with social distinction. In this cultural frame, travels through Europe, in the style of the Grand Tour, became especially appreciated among European aristocratic youth. At the same time, interest in Classical antiquity and collecting antiques was enhanced, giving rise to a flourishing activity of replica production and trade, especially in Italy.

The dactyliothec by the Italian artist Pietro Bracci (1700–1773) in the collections of the Museum-Library of the House of Bragança (Vila Viçosa, Portugal) illustrates eighteenth- and nineteenth-century taste, shared by the last generations of the Portuguese Royal House. The set presented is composed of 2,350 plaster moulds of gems and cameos, organized in three thematic series. The first and largest series is dedicated to emblematic pieces of ancient art and the Italian Renaissance. The second series is composed of a selection of reproductions of the best carvings originally made by eighteenth-century craftsmen, like Giovanni or Luigi Pichler and Natal Marchant. The third and last series brings together a total of 180 cameos dedicated to Emperors of Europe. Dated between the end of the eighteenth century and the first quarter of the nineteenth century, this dactyliothec reflects the importance that such casts assumed as souvenirs of Classical art and history for collectors and travellers, as well as their use as an educational resource in the academic training of young aristocrats.

You can register to view this talk via Zoom here, or plan to watch via The Wallace Collection’s YouTube channel.

Ana Mónica da Silva Rolo and Noé Conejo Delgado are both based at the Archaeology Centre UNIARQ of Lisbon University.


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