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RSA Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture
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RSA Annual Meeting Washington, DC

When: Saturday, 24 March 2012
7:00-8:00 pm
Where: Grand Hyatt Washington, Independence Ballroom

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Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Sponsor: Renaissance Society of America
Location: Grand Hyatt Washington, Independence Ballroom

Paula Findlen, Stanford University

The Eighteenth-Century Invention of the Renaissance: Lessons from the Uffizi

It is a canonical fact of Renaissance studies that Jules Michelet, Jacob Burckhardt, and a number of other influential nineteenth-century scholars wrote the Renaissance into existence, which they most certainly did, since no historian before the mid-nineteenth century offered a comprehensive and synthetic account of this era as a well-defined period of history. But what inspired and preceded their vision of the Renaissance? This talk explores the eighteenth-century landscape of antiquarianism, historicism, collecting, and art history from which the idea of the Renaissance emerged. It moves away from scholarly encounters in Paris and Basel to the society and culture of Italy in the age of the Grand Tour as the site where this conversation began. Its focal point is the activities surrounding the multiple reinventions of the Uffizi Gallery in the age of the Grand Tour. How did Vasari’s building come to house Vasari’s Renaissance?

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