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MEDICI MATERIALS: FROM SUBSTANCE TO ARTEFACT

Posted By Sefy Hendler, Saturday, May 07, 2016

Nowhere was the Medici effort to combine nature, art and science more perceptible than in their awareness to materials. In fact, not only did the Medici show particular interest in art objects and rare artefacts, quickly becoming celebrated collectors, but also did they cultivate a very particular  passion to substances and their origin. 

Numerous artistic commissions highlight this interest. From the diverse supports chosen for paintings to the continuous pursuit of new techniques in order to use and display diverse materials as part of precious art objects, the question of substances played a major role in the mediciean artistic production. The quest for rarity, preciosity but also quality are essential parameters to be considered while evaluating the role of materials in Medici art.

In this context, it is worth reexamining the relation between art and nature, as reflected in the manifest interest of the Medici in natural materials and chemical elements. What where the procedures that permitted the transformation of such materials into works of art? To which extant did the new methods of extraction and processing of such materials influence the production of art objects? How were particular materials described in contemporary writing?  Was the classification process visible not only in the display of the collections but also within certain works of art? Did the toscanità of certain materials dictate their use by the Medici? 

Interested participants should send proposals (150 words), keywords, CV (300 words) to Antonella Fenech Kroke, Elinor Myara Kelif, and Sefy Hendler (medicimaterials@gmail.com) by May 30.

Tags:  Art History Medici Materials 

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