Artistic exchange in the Mediterranean

A book of essays looks at connections between different cultures from the past to understand how each one impacted on others through art.

As yet unpublished research that reflects on the presence of artistic exchange in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance across the Mediterranean is now the subject of a body of papers that is about to published.

The book of essays, Dynamics of Artistic Exchange in the Mediterranean: the Medieval and Renaissance imprint, edited by art historian Charlene Vella, will be launched on Tuesday, May 21.

The focus on the artistic exchange is related in particular to southern European territories that border the Mediterranean Sea, from Spain to Cyprus. The subject of each paper is new, and the broader Central Mediterranean, including Sicily and Venice, is the focus of several of them.

Malta also features in a paper related to the Knights of the Order of St John in Rhodes, while other papers focus on Cyprus and the Iberian Peninsula, and artistic exchange that occurred with these territories from across the Mediterranean.

“The artistic exchange in the Mediterranean is about connecting different cultures and understanding how each one impacted on others – even those across the Mediterranean, showing that such exchange transcends boundaries,” said Vella, a senior lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Malta.

“The Mediterranean Sea is the common denominator in these papers and the migration of people and ideas unites their contents.”

The volume of essays came about after two conferences, titled Dynamics of Mediterranean Artistic Interactions in the Late Medieval and Renaissance periods, held in 2018 and 2019 and organised by the Department of Art and Art History.

“What connects these authors is, therefore, a mutual interest in a wider topic of research in which they have crossed paths in conferences at the University of Malta or elsewhere,” Vella said.

The book launch, to be held at the Valletta Campus, will be chaired by Mark Sagona, while Emanuel Buttigieg and Charles Dalli will be addressing it.

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